The Way We Eat: Goulash for Itamar

NY Times, February 5, 2006

A very young Itamar Procaccia, as shown in Joseph Wechsberg's "The Uncertain Delights of Ashkenazi Cooking."

Transylvanian Goulash

1 pound sauerkraut, fresh, canned or packaged (note: a 1-pound jar of sauerkraut weighs far less when drained)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoons caraway seeds
cup tomato pur�
cup sour cream
cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour.

1. Wash the sauerkraut thoroughly under cold running water, then soak it in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes to reduce its sourness. Strain well, pressing out all the water.

2. Melt the butter in a 5-quart casserole and add the onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly colored, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and cook a minute or two longer. Stir in the paprika, pour in cup of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pork cubes.

3. Spread the sauerkraut over the pork and sprinkle it with the caraway seeds. In a small bowl, combine the tomato pur� and the rest of the broth and pour the mixture over the sauerkraut. Bring the liquid to a boil once more, then reduce the heat to its lowest point. Season the cooking liquid with a pinch of salt, cover the casserole tightly and simmer for 1 hour. Check occasionally to make sure the liquid has not cooked away. Add a little stock or water if needed; the sauerkraut should be moist.

4. When the pork is tender, combine the creams in a mixing bowl. Beat the flour into the creams with a whisk, then carefully stir this mixture into the casserole. Simmer for 10 minutes longer. Season with salt to taste. Serve in large, wide bowls, accompanied by a side of sour cream. Serves 4. Recipe adapted from "The Cooking of Vienna's Empire," by Joseph Wechsberg, part of the Time-Life Foods of the World series.

Sara Dickerman is a cook and writer living in Seattle.