Having grown up in a Swiss household I ate my way through a number of traditional Swiss dishes.
Rösti with spiegelei (hash browns with fried eggs), spätzle (tiny flour dumplings ), vogelfutter (“bird food” – a bread and apple mixture) and when guests were over, we’d gather around a hearty cheese fondue pot and dip thick, soft cubes of bread into the molten cheese lava; or a meat fondue pot served with an incredible sauce that would make your taste buds sing.
My dad was and still is a brilliant cook. He injects tonnes of flavour into every dish. Garlic and onion form the foundation of every meal and he likes to be heavy handed with the garlic; a trait I have picked up.
We always ate dinner at the table (TV was banned at meal time) and it’s these memories of us all together that makes me smile – although, as kids, our only priority was to resume watching TV.
Swiss goulash was typically served in our house with mashed potato and peas, however, you can serve it with mashed cauliflower or sweet potato if you prefer. This would even go nicely with some gluten free pasta or quinoa.
Due to the cooking time, this dish works well with cheaper cuts of meat. I used chuck steak in this recipe and by the end the meat is quite tender. You could even make this in your slow cooker. I also used leek in place of the onion. If you’ve never cooked with leek before, let me show you how it’s used.
Origin of goulash
Goulash originated in Turkey and made its way into Hungary where it was called “gulyas” (named after herdsmen).
Considered peasant food, it was a popular dish with farmers, shepherds and cowboys before it made its way onto the tables of the rich. The use of capsicum (peppers) and/or paprika is typically Hungarian and is the most well known way to make it.
Germans adapted the basic recipe to their own tastes, producing the Gulaschsuppe (goulash soup) that is popular in many restaurants today. The Swiss version originated in Bern – (German part of Switzerland).
There are many different versions of goulash which range from a soup to a stew. It really doesn’t matter as long as it tastes good.
Why this is good for you
Beef (grass fed) helps prevent coronary artery disease, hypertension, arthritis, reduces the risk of heart attack and helps reduce the risk of cancer.
Potato lowers blood pressure, supports a healthy digestive system, protects against colon cancer, helps lower bad cholesterol, helps provide relief from rheumatism and help reduce inflammation.
Leek protects blood vessel lining from damage, helps prevent cardiovascular disease, helps prevent colorectal cancer and gastric cancer and helps prevent neural tube defects in newborns.
Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties, supports the circulatory, digestive and immune systems, helps lower blood pressure, assists in detoxification, prevents formation of blood clots, reduces blood pressure, helps with asthma, regulates blood sugar levels in diabetics and lowers the risk of most types of cancer.
Carrot help keep eyesight strong, reduce the risk of lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer, are anti aging, prevent heart disease, help flush out toxins, reduce the risk of stroke, improve immune function; help lower your risk of stroke and high blood pressure
Parsnips decrease the risk of diabetes, prevent heart disease, reduce risk of cancer, help prevent hemorrhoids, reduce risk of stroke and diverticulitis.
Coconut oil helps boost metabolism and aids in weight loss, helps boost endurance, detoxes the body, protects the heart, prevents and heals candida, helps improve the digestive system and prevents irritable bowl syndrome, strengthens the immune system, kills the viruses that causes influenza, hepatitis and measles, helps stop tooth decay, helps prevent liver disease, helps dissolve kidney stones, prevents and treats diabetes, kills the bacteria that causes throat infections; and heals damaged tissues and infections.
- Oil for frying (I used coconut oil)
- 600 grams diced beef - grass fed/free range/organic (I used chuck steak)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 leek, sliced (or 1 large brown onion)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 full rashers free range bacon (nitrate free), chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 500 ml gluten free beef (or vegetable) stock
- 2 large potatoes, diced into similar size as beef
- Handful of chopped curly leaf parsley
- 4 - 5 large parsnips
- Ground sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Some almond milk (or milk of choice) or water to smooth out mash
- Season beef with the salt and pepper
- Heat a medium saucepan on medium high - high and sear beef in batches on all sides.
- Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
- Using same pan, add the bacon, leek, carrots,celery and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
- Return the meat back into the pan.
- Add the tomato paste, stir and then add the bay leaves and 1 cup (250 ml) of the stock.
- Cover and simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours.
- Add the diced potatoes and the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) of stock and simmer for a further 30 minutes or until potatoes are done and meat is tender.
- When ready to serve, throw in the parsley and stir.
- Peel and chop the parsnips and steam until tender.
- Mash until smooth (add a bit of almond milk or water if too dry).
- Season with salt and pepper
* Best results are obtained if meat is at room temperature and patted dry with paper towels before seasoning.
* Important step: Make sure the meat is fried in batches to avoid it stewing. You want the meat to caramelise which creates a deeper flavour.
* Use a pan with a stainless steel or cast iron surface which gives best caramelisation results.
* Coconut oil works well here due to its high heat tolerance.
* If you have a gas cook top (like myself), it's impossible to simmer on a low enough heat. If that's the case, transfer contents into an oven proof casserole dish and bake at around 170 degrees C (150 fan forced) or at whatever temperature gives a nice simmer depending on your oven.