Smoky Pork Goulash

Hooray – my first ever blog post! Apologies for the lack of picture - I forgot to take one this time, but I'll try and remember next time! This is one of those recipes that was born because I had something to use up (in this case, pork steaks) so I had a quick look for ideas online and created this, which turned out really well: a thick chunky stew with a deep, smoky flavour (from the smoked paprika) filled with warmth and sweetness from the orange and peppers.

To start with, I chopped three pork steaks into one-inch chunks, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and browned them in a bit of olive oil. Then I took the pork out but left all the sticky juices in the pan, and used them to fry an onion (diced) and a couple of chopped garlic cloves, before adding about a pint of chicken stock and a good dollop of tomato puree, to deglaze the pan – this basically means using a liquid to loosen bits of meat and juices from the bottom of the pan, so that they flavour your cooking rather than burning. Once this mixture had come back up to the boil, I added a couple of sweet red peppers and an orange, peeled and roughly chopped. The peppers were the ones you can buy preserved in a jar in the supermarket, but they can be a bit overpriced, so if you want to save money and you have the time, you can make them yourself - just buy ordinary fresh peppers, grill them on all sides until the skin is blackened and peels off easily (they will spit and smoke a bit, but don’t worry, the outside is supposed to burn! Just make sure you keep an eye on them). Once they’re peeled you’ll have exactly the same end product. 

Finally I added a good sprinkling of smoked paprika (which is much more flavoursome than ordinary paprika, so it’s definitely worth getting hold of it if you can), a bit of mild chilli powder and a pinch of sugar, which I put in to counteract any bitterness from the orange.

I left the stew to simmer with a lid on for about an hour, so it thickened up considerably and the chunks of orange melted into the rest of the liquid, mellowing the citrus flavour. We served it with homemade bread and butter, which was a lovely combination, but I think it would also go really well with mashed potato (check out the Beef & Red Wine Pie recipe for my mashed potato tips). I think this is the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold evening – give it a go.