Every year for my husbands birthday I look for something to make for a special dinner and none of them have been particularly amazing or memorable, until this year.
I have been raving about Molly Yeh’s cookbook Molly on the Farm for a while now and can you believe it I still hadn’t cooked from it? Part of it is because it’s as much of her personal story and journal with yummy recipes. You can read this cookbook like you would any novel. Reading about her experiences and life is like as if someone was peeking into my like. Both of us are coastal transplants to the midwest because of our midwestern husbands. We both have partial jewish heritage that we love and want to cling on to the flavors and foods of that heritage and we both seem to enjoy a similar sense of humor.
Thumbing through her cookbook I knew there were many recipes I was eager to try but the one I kept going back to was her recipe for Slow Cooker Goulash with Scallion Knödeln. The recipe was totally approachable and didn’t seem scary or complicated. Better yet the recipe is done in a slow cooker! This excited me because I love my Breville Fast,Slow, Pro but I have only ever used it as a pressure cooker. This was going to allow me to finally get to use it as a slow cooker!
Being that I live on acreage in the midwest part of that life means canning. I don’t LOVE to can, my husband sort of does. What I love is having a pantry packed fully of real wholesome ingredients ready at a moments notice. So when she called for 4 cups of beef stock I was able to just go to my pantry and pull 4 half pint jars from the shelves and dump it in. When she called for 1 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes I was able to just go to my pantry and grab 2 pint jars of canned tomatoes and dump them in. I didn’t have to worry if they were exactly 4 cups or 28 ounces. I knew I was close. Maybe the stock was a little less but then again the tomatoes and their liquid might have been a little more. Then at another point it called for tomato paste, got that! Homemade, thick, rich, and amazing I just stopped out a big dollop and dropped it in. At one point it calls for red wine. She doesn’t specify what kind so I went to my wine rack and decided on my favorite blend and added that.
To keep the cooking easy I got everything chopped up, measured up, and dried the beef. Then it was brown the meat, put it in the slow cooker, soften the veggies with the spices and tomato paste and add that to the cooker, add everything else to the slow cooker and let it do it’s thing. She did say it could take anywhere from 4-6 hours. So I put this together early and let it slow cook for 4 hours.
For whatever reason I hadn’t been feeling well all day so cooking wasn’t something I was particularly keen on. I fell asleep on the couch with my dogs and had forgotten about the goulash. This is yet another reason I love the Fast, Slow, Pro… the goulash stayed plenty hot but didn’t over cook or dry out. There was no burning or scorching just deliciousness.
Our plan had been to got to the movies for my husband birthday which mean leaving the house at 6:30pm. With having fallen asleep on the couch I lost track of time and woke at about 5pm! I still had to make the knödeln, get the dogs fed, give us time to eat, and make it to the movie.
I had made bread a few days earlier and sliced it up and left it out to stale so that was ready to go. I popped it into the food processor to make light work of getting it into manageable pieces. I got a pot of water on to boil and started getting the ingredients together. While I worked on this my husband fed the dogs. Of corse I didn’t read the recipe all the way through before starting and the knödeln mixture needs to sit for 15 minutes. Eeek! I was already short on time! Wait, it say they need to cook for 15-20 minutes! I used to small of a pot so I could only cook half at a time. By the time I dished up the goulash (which by the way I set my Fast, Slo, Pro to “REDUCE” while I was working on the knödeln so that it would have a little thicker of a sauce) and had the first batch of knödeln out of the water it was almost 6pm.
Yes, I was stressed as we both wanted to make it to the movie and I had resided myself to that fact we won’t have the time because I had fallen asleep, it turned out that we had plenty of time and better yet, dinner was AMAZING! If all of her recipes turn out this good I will be beyond excited as she has some amazing dishes in her cookbook.
Oh, and I think I have finally found the keeper for my husband birthday dinner…