Trieste is next door to Slovenia and Croatia and near the Austro-Hungarian border, good reasons why this stew is reminiscent of a fine Hungarian goulash. The big seasoning decision for me is whether to use Hungarian paprika, or, for a smoky overtone, the Spanish pimentón de La Vera. I have made this both ways, and I lean toward the pimentón, but you may decide you prefer the more authentic paprika. Similar recipes from the Trentino add cumin or caraway to the sauce and grated lemon zest. While traditionally served with boiled potatoes, I like to serve the gulyas with homemade pappardelle.
If you have the time and foresight, rub the meat with the paprika, about
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and film the bottom with
Raise the heat to high and, working in batches, brown the beef cubes on all sides in the fat remaining in the pan, adding olive oil as needed. Each batch should take 8 to 10 minutes. As each batch is ready, transfer it a Dutch oven. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, and sauté, adding more oil as needed, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the paprika, cayenne, cumin, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes longer to blend the flavors.
Add the seasoned onions to the beef along with the pancetta, wine, tomatoes and their juice, herb sachet, and lemon zest, place over medium heat, and stir well to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beef is tender. This may take as long as 3 hours.
Discard the herb sachet. Season the stew to taste with salt and black pepper and more paprika or cayenne, if desired, then serve.
From Friuli, try a Merlot or Refosco from Dorigo, Scarbolo, or Venica & Venica. If they are impossible to find, switch to a California Syrah or a California Rhône blend.
© 2004 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.