I’ve meant to post this recipe for almost two weeks now. Of course, this did not quite happen. Partially, because I couldn’t get myself to sit down and write. And partially, because once I was ready to write, I had my friend Natalie – whom I hadn’t seen in 4 years! – come visit me from Australia, after a conference she had in Colorado. I guess I really need to work on updating my cooking blog at least as frequently as my personal blog, but, for now, I hope this delicious recipe is going to make up for my irregularity 😉
Gyuvetch is a traditional Bulgarian beef stew which is baked in the oven for “a final touch.” With March 3rd approaching (the Bulgarian Liberation Day), it only seems even more appropriate to post it now.
There are many gyuvetch recipes, and I’ve tried many times to find the “original” one… unsuccessfully. Although there are some predominant gyuvetch versions (such as “Monastery Gyuvetch”), all of the recipes for any particular version have at least some slight differences and, in some cases, even major ones. Here, I’m offering you what I consider a “universal” and basic recipe — the one I most often use. You can alter it by adding green beans, eggplants, potatoes… or by leaving out the olives or even the meat if you want a vegetarian option. However, whatever you choose to do, there is one key ingredient which, cannot, under no circumstances, be substituted. Trying to remove it would leave you with nothing more than a regular stew since it’s really the essence of the gyuvetch. That ingredient, my friends, is paprika.
A lot of paprika.
(For a pan 9×13 inches – about 8 servings)
2 tbsp olive oil (generally, additional oil is added in the middle of the recipe – but I like mine low-fat 😉 )
1 lb beef stew cubes
1 cup (dry) rice
½ cup red wine
1 very large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced (optional)
3 medium large tomatoes, chopped
4 oz sliced mushrooms, sliced one more
1 red pepper bell, chopped or sliced
1 green pepper bell, chopped or sliced
1/3 pitted olives, halved
3 tbsp paprika
½ tbsp red pepper
Black pepper and salt
Yogurt, rather thick (optional)
1. In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil and fry slightly the meat with a bit of black pepper and salt.
2. Add the onion, minced garlic, paprika, red pepper. Cook until the onion is soft.
3. Add the tomatoes, the cup of wine, and enough water to cover. Let boil.
4. Add mushrooms and rice, and after about 8-10min – the chopped pepper bells.
5. Simmer for another 10 min. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350-375°F.
6. Pour stew into pan. Add the olives on top and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or till the guyvetch gets a “brownish” color.
7. Adjust with more salt and black pepper if needed. Serve with a bit of chopped parsley on top, and if you’d like – a couple of tablespoons of thick yogurt.