Friday, January 27, 2012

Greg's German Venison Gulasch

Greg came up with this hearty crock pot recipe using the German version of Knorr's Gulasch mix, which his sister sent to us from Germany. The English-labeled version that's sold here in the US tastes a little different and isn't quite as savory or rich as the German version.  The American version also tastes a little sweeter to me.  Unfortunately, the German version isn't readily available around here, not even in gourmet or specialty-foods stores, but Greg did find it at a German deli in the San Francisco area while he was there on business.  You might also be able to find the German version of Knorr's Gulasch mix online through Amazon.

The one drawback to using the German version is that the directions (and everything else on the packet) are in German, so if you can't read German you're on your own.  Or, you can simply use this recipe.  We usually eat venison but you can certainly substitute beef or bison (buffalo) and different vegetables if you prefer.  For example, potatoes and carrots are a more traditional choice but we omit the potatoes to keep the carbs as low as possible.  German food isn't hot and spicy, but if you insist on some heat you could add some hot Hungarian paprika or a drop or two of an unflavored pepper extract to your crock pot (trust me, that's plenty for a whole crock pot) to add spiciness without altering the flavor.

Greg starts cooking the venison shoulder in the crock pot the night before, and the next morning the meat will readily come off the bone.  If you use a roast or other boneless stew meat, you can start the gulasch in the morning of the day on which you plan on serving it.  German gulasch can be enjoyed with spaetzle or over cooked rice, or simply in a bowl as a robust stew.

1 venison shoulder, silverskin & fat removed (or substitute a beef roast or other boneless stew meat, approx. 2 lbs)
2 packages Knorr Gulasch mix, preferably the German version
3 large onions, sliced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 12oz bag mixed frozen vegetables of your choice (e.g., corn-peas-carrots)
1/2 cup milk (regular, low-fat or skim)
1 heaping Tbs cornstarch
Salt & Pepper to taste

*For bone-in venison:  The night before you plan on serving the gulasch, add 1 packet of Knorr Gulash mix to your crock pot, pour in about 2 inches of water and stir well.  Add the venison shoulder, cover, set crock pot to high-low auto-switch and cook overnight.  Check for tenderness the next morning: The meat should come off the bone easily.  Remove all bones and gristle and "pull" the meat using a fork.  Continue with rest of recipe.

*For boneless stew meat or roast:  Cut the meat into 2" chunks and begin the recipe the morning you of the day you plan on serving it, beginning the recipe below and adding both packets of Gulasch mix from the start.

To the meat in the crockpot add the other packet of Knorr Gulasch mix (or both packets if using stew meat or a roast), onions, undrained tomatoes and the frozen vegetables (you can substitute or add some new potatoes and/or thickly-sliced carrot). Add enough water to make a soupy consistency and stir to thoroughly combine.  Cover and cook at the high-low alternating setting for 6 to 8 hours (if using a roast, cook until the meat is done and very tender, which should take around the same amount of time). 

About 1 hour before serving, whisk together the milk & cornstarch, then stir into the crockpot--this will help thicken the gulasch a little as it finishes cooking. Serve with spaetzle or rice, or as a stew.  Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

Zestfully yours,

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