Blistered Pepper Beef Goulash

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As a soup, this recipe works well as is. To make it a more filling stew, you may either add boiled new potatoes to the pot or serve the stew over cooked egg noodles. Both ways are wonderful, and both ways are traditional in Hungary.  A rich, full-bodied Hungarian red wine, such as Egri Bikaver (Bull’s Blood of Egri), would be the perfect pairing.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized cubes
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 (16-ounce) bag multi-colored mini sweet peppers
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups beef broth
2 cups Mom’s brand Special Marinara
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 springs fresh thyme
3-4 tablespoons paprika

Heat about ½ the oil in a deep soup pot or Dutch oven with a lid and brown the cubes of beef over high heat, seeking maximum caramelization. Season with salt, black pepper and lemon pepper. Remove the meat from the pot. Cut the stem ends off the peppers and slice them in half lengthwise. Add the remaining olive oil and cook the peppers, carrot and onion until peppers are blistered. Stir in the garlic for only 1 minute.

Add the broth, the tomato sauce and the vinegar, stirring to combine. Season with thyme and paprika (as much paprika as you like), then to taste with additional salt, pepper and lemon pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook covered until beef is tender and liquid has thickened, about 1 hour. Add more beef broth or water if you like it “soupier.” Garnish with additional thyme sprigs. Serves 6-8.

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