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My Culinary Adventures #11: Quick(ish) Beef Goulash and Sweet Potato Mash

Beef stew is one of my favourite things, whether it’s in a steak and ale pie, beef bourguignon or beef goulash. When I had some friends over the other night for dinner, I thought it would be a good one to try out. I used to make beef bourguignon all the time at university- but all I did was add hot water to some Coleman’s powder. I’ve made it from scratch since but I still haven’t got it quite right. 

Normally, beef stew needs to sit in a casserole dish in the oven for hours to get it right. On this occasion, I didn’t have that much time. By the time I arrived home and started cooking at 6.30pm it would have been going on for 9pm before it would have ready. There may be many countries where that is an acceptable dinner time, but I would have eaten the contents of my fridge by then if I had to wait that long.

Happily though, I found a beef goulash recipe that suggested alternatively letting it simmer it on the cooker top for 45 minutes, which was about as long as I could handle (actually I couldn’t handle it at all, and ended up with a starter). I was sceptical, obviously the meat wouldn’t be as tender, but I’d rather some slightly chewy meat than me and my guests getting hangry (hunger-related anger- look it up, it’s real). Thankfully, the meat wasn’t chewy at all. Okay, it was not melting in my mouth and the sauce wasn’t quite as rich as the amazing goulash I had in Prague but it was undeniably tasty.

Ingredients- 3 servings

Beef Goulash

  • 400g diced beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Handful mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 90ml white wine
  • 300ml beef stock
  • Soured cream- to serve
  • Olive oil

Sweet Potato Mash

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • Dollop of butter
  • Milk


  1. Dice the onion and mushrooms and fry them in the olive oil, with some crushed garlic until they soften. Add the diced beef and sprinkle the flour to cover the mixture. Fry the beef until it’s sealed and golden brown.
  2. Cover the contents of the pan with the tomato puree and sprinkle over the paprika. Stir well over the heat.
  3. Pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, white wine and beef stock and stir well.
  4. Tip the contents of the pan into a non-stick saucepan with a lid. Allow to stew on a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring regularly.
  5. Chop up the sweet potatoes and cook them in a pan of boiling water for about 25 minutes, or until they are soft and you can easily pierce them with a fork).
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked, add the butter and a few splashes of milk and mash together until you get a creamy mixture. Add more milk if necessary.
  7. When everything is ready, serve with a dollop of sour cream.


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