great taste

SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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There  are three pasta dishes I absolutely love for their simplicity and, if prepared with love and care, for their impeccable pure taste of just a few simple ingredients:
“PASTA CACIO E PEPE””SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO“, and today’s feature, “PASTA AL CAVIALE”.
As always, use the best ingredients you can afford to achieve the best result. Also, although many Italian recipes call for olive oil to toss the pasta with, as a caviar lover, I believe butter is the more appropriate ingredient to use for this dish.
And there you have it, all you need for this culinary wonder is good quality spaghetti, good quality butter, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and caviar of your choice.

Bon Appétit !   Life is Good

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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SPAGHETTI AL CAVIALE (Spaghetti With Caviar)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Thanks to its ease of preparation and its wonderful taste and texture, chicken noodle soup in its never-ending varieties is one of the dishes I prepare at least once every week.  🙂
I remember the noodle soups from my youth, which had the same flaw as all other pasta dishes at the time in the “old country” – the pasta was nearly always overcooked. Not just in the home I grew up in, but in all homes and restaurants.
To cook pasta al dente became only common after the influx of Italian Immigrants and the explosion of Italian restaurants in Germany in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Unfortunately, nowadays, the original Italian patrons of these restaurants have mostly retired. Their (German-educated) kid’s, and more often than not, new immigrants from countries such as Turkey, Albania, Rumania, etc have taken over these restaurants and unfortunately, the cuisine has been watered down to an unfortunate mix of second-class Italian and third-class German cooking style, including in many cases, overcooked pasta. Sadly, when I visited Germany last September, it was nearly impossible for me to find decent pasta, pizza, and other traditional Italian food of good quality ( see also “My trip to Germany and Spain“)

However, let’s get back to the “Chicken Noodle Soup” at hand.
No danger of overcooked pasta to be found here, although, there is the (slight?) possibility to overcook the carrot noodles and/or the beans, so if you decide to prep this dish, please keep the veggies bright in color and of proper texture. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Chicken Soup With Carrot-Noodles & Green Beans)

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Bella’s Chicken Noodle Soup (She still ate half my wings and carrots) 🙂

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan # 2 –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for 
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE
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Arugula & Crab Salad In Yogurt Dressing

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Lately, I eat a lot of salad as a main course, any time of the day, even for breakfast if I have leftovers from the previous day.
The key to a great leftover salad to enjoy the following day is to look at the total quantity of all ingredients BEFORE you add the green leaves and dressing, then set them aside separately, cover airtight and store in the fridge overnight, so that the leaves will not wilt and the salad does not get soggy. Only mix and add the finishing touches to the salad you can actually eat for the one meal you’re about to have.
Seems logical enough, but sometimes when everything looks so tempting and delicious, the eyes are bigger than the stomach and we are stuck with a beautiful salad that will turn messy in just a short while 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Use any type of crabmeat that suits your taste buds and wallet, or substitute crabmeat with lobster, crayfish, shrimp or scallops.
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Yogurt Dressing Recipe :

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1/4 cup EVO
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped oregano (or 1 pinch dried oregano)

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Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk ’til smooth.

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Arugula & Crab Salad In Honey-Mustard Dressing

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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While grilled shrimp is a dish that is well known to most of us, pasta cooked in red wine is probably less known/experienced by most folks, even those who are fans of pasta in all shapes and tastes 🙂
I for one have cooked pasta in red wine a few times, many years ago, but had forgotten about it since, until I came across it while browsing through some of my (very) old menus, notes, and pictures.
I have cooked this now twice in the past couple of weeks, and it has become one of my absolute favorite side –  and even main-dish. The secret to preparing this pasta successfully lies in the red wine. Please, don’t even consider to use an inferior bottle of wine. Of course, you also don’t want to break the house, but, as with all very simple dishes, your success lies squarely on the quality of the ingredients. Also, it is my opinion that this pasta works best with butter instead of olive oil, since a really good EVO would, in my humble opinion, overpower the flavor of the wine. Again, this pertains to my very own taste preference and might work differently for yours 🙂
Also, panko in the pangrattato is a better choice  for me  than regular breadcrumbs 🙂

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
Before somebody gets’ their knickers in a twist about the pangrattato – there is no ONE way of preparing it. Pangrattato simply means “grated bread”.
It can be toasted, cooked in a dry pan until golden, sautéed in butter or olive oil. It can be highly seasoned or just a little, it can contain herbs and/or whatever dry ingredient suit your palette and the dish you prepare. 🙂
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Red Wine-Bucatini

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Grilled Shrimp And Peppers-Brochette With Red Wine-Bucatini And Pangrattato

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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I prepared this soup on February 16th, the day of the Chinese new year and the beginning of the year of the dog.
I had planned to prepare and publish this post well before the 16th, in order to give my readers a chance to bring this wonderful, traditional dish to the table as part of the new year’s dinner celebration. Alas, some unforeseen events kept me from doing so. Now then, here it is, “Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup, two weeks late for the New Year celebration, but NOT TOO late, since these wonderful dumplings can, of course, be enjoyed anytime during the year. 🙂
Chinese egg dumplings, also known as dan jiao, are also often served in hot pots, in other soups or just as is, with a tasty dipping sauce.
These dumplings may look a lot more complicated and difficult to prepare as they actually are, so there is no reason not to enjoy them often. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
These dumplings cook in a very short time when simmered in soup, so you should add them towards the very end of the cooking time !
They can also be prepared ahead and frozen, then easily reheated in simmering soup.
However, if you serve the dumplings without soup, bake them or steam them for a short time, since the original short cooking time in the omelet is not enough to cook the meat through !
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P.P.S.
This soup is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year because of its long noodles (longevity),
and the color of the dumplings, which resembles the color of gold coins ( prosperity)
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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Chinese New Year Egg Dumpling Soup ( 蛋饺 ) ( Dan Jiao )

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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“Sausage & Peppers”  seem to be an American/Italian thing that most of us fail to enjoy and/or appreciate.
And of course, there is a good reason…….
Sausage and peppers are usually just an afterthought on Italian/American restaurant menus, often using inferior/leftover/stale ingredients, and therefore being treated as food for the fools 😦 .
While traveling and living in Italy, I never came across anything similar in any restaurant, although in private homes, using leftovers and whatever the fridge and/or cupboard provided, could occasionally provide a similar dish………
When I first encountered this dish here in the US a few decades ago, I ordered it a few times and also saw it on plates my fellow diners ordered.
Frankly, more often than not, it was less than appealing, to say it in a nice way.
So, for many years it never occurred to me to prep this dish at home, until it just so happened that Italian sausage meat and peppers were the only things I found in my fridge before going to stock-up my supplies.
Long story, short solution – just look at the pics in this post to see what you can do with these most basic ingredients if you put a bit of love and feeling in the preparation of this so often abused and massacred dish 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you ever had this dish in a typical Italian/American restaurant, it was probably prepared with sliced Italian sausages, instead of the plain Italian sausage stuffing, shaped into balls, as I did here.
The texture will be very different, but the taste will be the same (Assuming you use “first-class ingredients”) 🙂
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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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EASY DOES IT # 35 – Italian Sausages And Bell Peppers

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for 
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Once in a while, my neighborhood fishmonger receives an overnight delivery of fresh-caught, never frozen salmon. He usually leaves me an e-mail message the same morning, so by noon I’ll have salmon in my kitchen which happily swam in the ocean or stream just one or maybe a couple of days before that. Ahhh, the wonders of our modern times 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Sautéed Salmon With Arugula, Strawberries & Walnuts In Raspberry Vinaigrette


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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Salad Of Endive & Chili Chicken

 

Salad Of Endive & Chili Chicken

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This was such a pleasant salad to enjoy early in the day.
The colors, flavors and lightness of its ingredients brightened the rest of my day and gave me a wonderful, guilt-free lunch. (I am still working on losing some of the many pounds I added while in Argentina.
So far it’s going well, 13 lbs in about one month, while always eating good and plenty. 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Salad Of Endive & Chili Chicken

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Salad Of Endive & Chili Chicken

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Salad Of Endive & Chili Chicken

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Salad Of Endive & Chili Chicken

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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P.S.
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This dish is part of my upcoming meal plan –
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH TWO 
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Click here for 
“HANS’ LIGHTER, HEALTHIER COMFORT FOOD”  –  MONTH ONE

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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushroom, Carrot & Egg

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“Congee With Mushrooms, Carrots & Egg (Chinese Rice porridge)
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Excerpt from a previous post of  Congee  on ChefsOpinion :
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” Rice Porridge –
The first thing that comes to mind is probably baby food or hospital gruff.
Most folks would never think of ordering it from a menu in a restaurant, much less wake up and crave it for breakfast, if they hadn’t tasted or at least seen it before.

Now, let’s try again :
Congee. Lúgaw. Chok. Xifan. Juk. Okayu.
OK now, that’s better  🙂

Sounds more interesting and exotic? These are just a few names given to rice porridge around the world. If there is a country or region which traditionally eats rice, then there is some form of rice porridge eaten.
Congee can be enjoyed as breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner. Congee most often contains rice, but other grains can be used.
Ideally, it is made with strong, tasty stock that infuses great taste and debt into the dish. But from there on, let your fantasy run wild. Congee can be made with seafood, meat, vegetables or a combination thereof.
Then there are the toppings – Pickled vegetables, fried shallots, sliced scallions, any mushroom, crisp fried garlic, dried shrimps, 100-year eggs, cilantro, etc, etc.
If you like it, put it on.
Below is a version I made on Sunday for breakfast. The texture is more like a Filipino Lugaw, with the rice VERY soft but still keeping its shape. .
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Congee With Mushrooms, Carrot & Egg

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Hans’ Pork Goulash With Peppers & Pasta Pearls

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Hans’ Pork Goulash With Peppers & Pasta Pearls

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Goulash is my favorite meat stew, no matter which protein is used – beef, veal, pork, poultry or game. The texture, color, and flavor have great appeal to me.
While there are of course different ways of preparing goulash, as well as different recipes, the main mark of a good goulash is to use the same amount of onions as protein, a great amount of sweet paprika powder for color and texture (sometimes hot paprika is added), as well as a special season mix of 1/3 thyme, 1/3 caraway seeds, and 1/3  lemon peel (yellow part only), all finely chopped and added to the meat while sauteing, to impart a rich, un-mistaking goulash-flavor. Of course, salt and pepper is a must.
Naturally, as with most dishes that have been around that long, there are dozens of variations,- you can add (or not) garlic, rosemary, bell peppers, potatoes, marjoram, red wine, bell peppers (zigeuner goulash) and even sauerkraut (Szegediner goulash). Also very popular is goulashsuppe (goulash soup). The big difference between preparing goulash and a regular stew is that for goulash, the onions are sautéed first until broken down and lightly colored, THEN the meat is added, and sautéed until all liquid has evaporated.
Because of the collagen in the meat, as well as the large amount of onions and ground paprika, no flour is needed to thicken the sauce.
Best enjoyed with pasta, goulash can also be served with rice, bread dumplings or potato dumplings, mashed potatoes, croquette potatoes, roast potatoes or just plain rustic bread.
Myself, I enjoy any type and version of goulash, paired with any good side dish that’s available 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here to read all about “Original Hungarian Goulash”,
as well as its History and Evolution through the Centuries.

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Hans’ Pork Goulash With Peppers & Pasta Pearls

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Hans’ Pork Goulash With Peppers & Pasta Pearls

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Hans’ Pork Goulash With Peppers & Pasta Pearls

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Hans’ Pork Goulash With Peppers & Pasta Pearls

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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