Segediener Goulash Recipe
By Eva Schweizer
My neighbor, Eva, was born in a part of Eastern Europe that changed nationalities regularly after major wars. In the early 20th century they were part of Hungary, then all of a sudden, they were Romanian and everyone was forced to learn and speak Romanian. After World War II the Soviet Union moved in, and Eva and her husband Franz had had enough. They made their way to the United States, and to our quiet valley in upper Vermont, which has not changed hands since the late 18th century when New York and New Hampshire were fighting over who owned our little state, stuffed between these two neighbors.
Eva recalls life in rural Hungary/Romania, when every autumn, a festival would be held and each town would compete for the best “goulash” (basically, this means “stew”). The festival would follow the annual slaughter of all the farms’ pigs, so it is not surprising that pork was featured. This recipe is that of Eva’s hometown, Segediener, and uses sauerkraut.
Cut about 1 lb. of pork into bite-sized pieces. Eva says to use something “tender” like baby spare ribs. By that, I think she means “moist,” because there is some fat content. (Traditionally, the pork meat would have been gathered from the butchering trimmings.) Brown the meat with some onion, then add some Hungarian paprika. The amount will depend upon how spicy you like your food. (A small amount of paprika at least, is needed to create color.)
Put the meat mixture into a casserole, then add some sauerkraut and the following seasonings:
About 5 juniper berries
l bay leaf
Some caraway seed
If you like a tidy dish, you can tie these seasonings into a cheesecloth bag. Stir in about 1 teaspoon of some sweetener, e.g. brown sugar, maple syrup.
Cover tightly and cook—either in the oven or on the stovetop—until the dish makes its own juices. Then add water to the level of the kraut. When it starts to simmer add 1 medium, peeled potato.
Cook until the sauerkraut is braised and the dish well-seasoned. Just before serving, remove the potato, mash it, and mix it into the dish. This will thicken the sauce.
Serve with sour cream.
Originally published in the March/April 2015 issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal.