This would have been a pretty oridinary stew made of beef, onions, paprika, tomatoes and wine if it weren’t for the secret weapon that lifts this Croatian goulash above the ordinary: fruit. Sunny Croatia produces an abundance of the sweetest, juiciest figs. Figs we are going to add to this goulash, together with some cinnamon and a little nutmeg.
No figs? Use some prunes instead, just as in a Dalmatian pašticada.
For this Croatian goulash we need:
1 kg. beef
2 large onions
1 tsp. caraway
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 dl. red wine
1 can tomato purée
1 tsp. dried majoram
2 bay leaves
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
a handful of dried figs
salt and pepper
Chop the onion and sauté in a few tbsp. of oil, together with the caraway. Meanwhile cube the beef. When the onion becomes translucent add the chopped garlic. Increase the heat and add the beef. Brown it quickly on all sides.
Remove the pot from the fire and stir in the paprika. Quench with the wine and a glass of water (or broth) and mix in the tomato purée. Season with majoram, bay leaves, some nutmeg and salt and pepper. Don’t forget the cinnamon stick, Put it back on the stove and let it simmer until the meat is tender.
After an hour, when the meat is half done, add the figs. Add a little water if necessary and let it gently cook until the meat is tender.
Serve this goulash with pasta or gnocchi.