Culinary Nostalgia

When you eat something and you’re immediately transported to a moment in the past, that is the definition of nostalgia. While visiting my brother and his family, we went to a Hungarian restaurant. Almost everything on the menu immediately evoked moments of pleasurable nostalgia. The chicken paprikaś, the kapostas teszta (Caramelized cabbage noodles), the palascinta(Hungarian-style crepe), all made me close my eyes and feel that familiarity of past family dinners. Seeing my 9 year old niece have the same pleasurable look on her face eating just made that pure familial connection all the more palpable.
With a greatest hits of my childhood on their menu, there were a few dishes not present. There was one key one: goulash soup. My most recent favourite way of preparing it, is with bison instead of the traditional pork.

Bison Goulash Soup

2 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil
500g/1lb Medicine Man Bison stew meat
2 cups Riverbend Gardens yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
1 small can tomato paste
2 Dof’s Greenhouses fresh red chillis, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
3 or 4 Riverbend Gardens carrots, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
3 Peas On Earth Organics parsnips, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups Riverbend Gardens potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp prepared coarse, grainy mustard (I make it homemade)
2 Tbsp salt
6-8 cups water

In a large sauté pan over high heat, heat the oil. Add the bison stew meat and sear it on all sides until deeply golden brown in colour. Add the onions and sauté for a further 4-5 minutes until softened and just starting to brown along the edges. Add the paprika and tomato paste and sauté, pan-roasting the tomato paste and paprika with the bison and onions until a toasted aroma starts to rise. Add a cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom. Transfer the entire mixture to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, stir to loosen the roasted tomato paste into the soup. Cover and set the slow cooker on the longest setting, about 10 hours.
After 10 hours of low simmering, transfer the soup to a large pot over medium heat then prepare nokedli

Nokedli (Hungarian egg dumplings)

1 cup Gold Forest Grains soft white wheat flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 Sunshine Organic large egg
1/2-3/4 cup milk

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the egg and work it in with a fork until crumbly. Gradually whisk in the milk until a thick batter is achieved. It should be slightly thicker than a pancake batter.
Place a nokedli maker (in many kitchen stores it’s called a spaetzle maker. Or just use the flat side of a coarse grater) over the simmering goulash soup. Add a ladleful of batter on top of the grater and scrape the batter through the grater with a stiff spatula or flat edged wooden spoon, making small dumplings that fall into the soup. Simmer the dumplings for 5-7 minutes until they start to float. Serve with rye bread. Serves 6-8.

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