It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, a bit cooler and I fancied something cooked low and slow.  It went a little something like this……..tender, juicy chunks of beef in a spicy, aromatic  sauce with the occasional pop of a sweet baby onion. Nom, nom.  Finished with a zesty lemon sour cream and some delicious nutty brown rice.   Nom, nom, nom, nom.

Prep time:   25 Minutes           Cooking time:    3 Hours            $$    Medium Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

800gm of gravy beef, diced into bite sized chunks

1 brown onion, halved and sliced

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbs of paprika

1 cup of dry red wine

1 cup of beef stock

400gm tin of tomatoes

2 tbs of tomato paste

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

3 bay leaves

12 eschallots, peeled and left whole

2 tbs of red wine vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

2 tbs of chopped fresh parsley

Sea salt and cracked pepper

For the Zesty Sour Cream:

4 tbs of sour cream

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper

Brown rice and steamed green beans to serve.

Pre heat the oven to 170°C.  Heat a heavy based, oven proof casserole dish on the stove top to a high heat, add a little olive oil and brown the beef in batches until sealed and golden.  Remove the beef and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and lightly fry the onion until soft.  Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so and then stir in the carrots, eschallots and paprika.  After a few minutes deglaze the bottom of the pan by pouring in the wine, making sure to scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves,  sugar, red wine vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper before popping the beef back in the pot and stirring well to combine.

Tear off a piece of baking paper and rest it on the beef mixture, tucking in the sides……this will help keep the moisture in.  Pop on a tight fitting lid and bake in the oven for 2-21/2 hours, stirring occasionally…..  once or twice is enough.

To prepare the rice, place 11/2 cups of brown rice in a medium sized saucepan with 3 cups of water.  Season with salt and place a little knob of butter in the pot.  Bring to the boil (stirring occasionally), reduce the heat to low, place a lid on and allow to simmer for 35 minutes (do not remove the lid) or until the water has absorbed.  Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

In a small bowl combine the sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

To serve, divide the rice among four plates and top with the Goulash.  Spoon over a nice dollop of sour cream and sprinkle over a generous amount of chopped fresh parsley.   Serve with a bowl of steamed greens.