Whenever I’m on holiday back at my parent’s place in South of Austria in the province of Carinthia, I try to learn some of the Austrian recipes I used to love when I was growing up from my mum, who is a truly excellent cook. I regret not having learned how to cook Austrian food from her while I was still living at home, but then again, better late then never!
While I never particularly liked the typical Hungarian beef goulash, I absolutely love Austrian Veal Goulash (which I am sure has its roots in Hungarian cuisine too). Firstly, it is made with veal instead of beef resulting in beautifully tender meat. Secondly, the sauce is finalised with sour cream which gives it a lovely smooth consistency and slightly sour taste. And thirdly, I love the dumplings Austrian Veal Goulash is served with: they are basically like giant spaetzle and go so well with the sauce and some green salad that I could almost do without the meat.
It’s worthwhile to make a big portion of this goulash as it’s even better the next day or day after next, warmed up (it can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days). In addition it freezes exceptionally well.
This is my mum’s secret recipe for Kalbsgulasch mit Nockerlen, now shared with the world.
AUSTRIAN VEAL GOULASH with DUMPLINGS (Kalbsgulasch mit Nockerlen)
Amount: 4-6 people
Cooking Time: 1-1.5 hours
For the Goulash
- 1 kg good quality veal shoulder or similar, cut into 4 cm cubes
- 500 g onions
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil (use a neutral oil like sunflower or rapeseed oil)
- Lemon zest of ½ untreated lemon
- 1.5 Tbsp sweet paprika powder
- 1.5 Tbsp tomato paste
- 400 ml water
- 120 mg creme fraiche
- 120 mg sour cream
- 1 Tsp maize flour
- Salt, Pepper
- optional: 1 red hot chilli
- optional: 1/2 red paprika, in small slices
Dumplings (the same dough is used for making spaetzle)
- 300 g flour
- 2 eggs
- milk and cold water 1:1 until dough is gooey
- dollop of butter
1. In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and fry the onions (and optionally the red chilli and pepper) until brown. (Onion needs to be browned to release the typical “goulash” flavour)
2. Add tomato paste and fry with onions for a couple of minutes.
3. Stir in paprika powder, mix through and immediately add 400 ml of cold water. (If you fry the paprika powder for too long, it gets bitter.)
4. Bring sauce to boil, and then add veal cubes. Season with salt and pepper as well as lemon zest.
5. Cover saucepan with a lid and simmer until the meat is soft. This may take anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the quality of the meat and the size of the chunks.
6. In the meantime, prepare the dumplings:
- Mix 300 g flour with 2 eggs (beat eggs before with a bit of water and milk) with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth paste. Add a teaspoon of salt.
- Add water/milk mix until the consistency is gooey (as shown in picture).
- Boil water with salt in a wide saucepan, form dumplings with a tablespoon and drop into boiling water. Don’t worry if they are different shapes and sizes – that’s the way they are supposed to look!
- When dumplings rise to the surface, they are done.
- Transfer into another pan, add a dollop of butter and nutmeg and leave aside until goulash is finished.
- NB: The dough is incredibly sticky and needs to be washed off with COLD water.
7. To finish the goulash start with mixing cornflour with a bit a bit of cold water.
8. Add sour cream and creme fraiche and also spoon in a ladle of the goulash sauce and mix thoroughly. Adding some of the goulash sauce to the sour cream mix before, prevents the formation of clumps.
9. To finish the sauce, remove meat from goulash sauce into another container. Add sour cream mix to the goulash sauce and blend until you have a smooth sauce.
10. Transfer meat back to the saucepan and simmer without lid for another 15 minutes to rewarm meat and concentrate sauce. Season to taste.
11. Serve with dumplings and green salad.