Sunday, November 20, 2011
Pålt and Goulash
You're probably thinking ~what the hell is Pålt? Most people know what goulash is, if not you'll know that by the end of this post as well.
I had the good fortune to be able to take a trip to Sweden back in 2000. There is a wonderful family there that made me and my friends feel like we were family, too. We had a wonderful time, with wonderful food, wonderful drinks, and wonderful company. Pålt is just one of those wonderful memories. They're yet another dumpling. Every culture has to have a dumpling. They're super cheap, very filling, good old fashioned comfort food. In Sweden they're primarily made with potatoes.
I honestly don't know if my pålt is the same as Mama Lundqvist's, but they tasted good and made me happy.
You will need:
and very salty pork - or other yummy filling that isn't going to put a lot of extra moisture into the dumpling (optional)
a large pot of salted water, boiling
I don't have measurements for this, because... well... that's just how I roll. Wait till I post my buttermilk biscuit recipe!
Boil the potatoes until they're tender enough to put a fork in easily, but not falling apart. Pull them out of the water and let them cool enough to handle. Pull the skins off, then grate them. Don't use the smallest holes in the grater. You want fine strands of potato, not mush. (although you can make these with leftover mashed potatoes, I don't think it tastes the same)
Measure your potatoes now. However much you wound up with, use half as much flour. (i.e. if you have two cups of shredded spuds, use a cup of flour.) This is a rule of thumb, and your experience may differ. If the dough is too sticky, knead in a little more flour. If it's too dry and stiff, put a bit of water in it. You want it to be soft enough to mould, but not so soft it falls apart when you cook it.
If you are using salty pork (this is how Mama made it for us), make sure it's fully cooked, and as you roll the dumplings into balls, poke two fingers in and stuff about a Tbs of salty pork goodness into each dumpling, then roll it tightly closed. Any type of filling could probably work. I want to make them with cheese!
If you aren't using filling, just roll the dough into balls.
Drop the dumplings into the boiling water for 20-ish minutes. They float when they're done.
For goulash you will need:
broth or bullion
seasonings as you like
Goulash is one of those fabulous things like kitchen sink soup. Every country has a different idea of what goulash should be. That idea reflects the tastes of the culture. There are no rules.
The goulash recipe I used was Hungarian. It called for some spices I happened to not have (I think it was caraway seeds). *shrugs* I was completely surprised that my spice cabinet was lacking. I normally have anything and everything you could possibly want in there. I'm a spice fiend. I love the stuff.
Anyway... So there aren't really any rules. Do what you love, spice it how you like.
I browned the meat with a little butter, tossed it in a soup pot.
In the drippings, I cooked the onions and bell pepper till they were soft, then tossed in some minced garlic. That went in the soup pot, too, along with the remaining drippings.
I put a couple of cups of beef broth in there, and let it simmer till the meat was tender.
I seasoned it with salt, turmeric, tarragon, and I think I put some cayenne pepper in there.
The other side you see in the picture is a cauliflower and carrot casserole that was absolutely abysmal. Totally disgusting (in the opinion of everyone in the house, so I am not being hyper critical here.) I was able to save it later, with some chicken, cream of mushroom soup, and a lot more time in the oven. But, I won't be using that recipe ever again.
The pålt and goulash, however, were totally awesome and will be done again.