CZECH MUSHROOM GOULASH

Czech name: Houbový guláš

Written by Lucie Gurbanova

Mushrooms are a huge staple of the Czech cuisine, in the past, they have been called “the meat of the poor“ since they are quite nutritious and can be substituted for meat. They can be found in any forest for free. Yes, Czech people go to a forest to pick mushrooms. While in the past it was mainly out of necessity, nowadays it is a widely spread hobby to go to the woods in the late summer to look for and collect mushrooms. We fry them with eggs, we dry them for later use in the winter, we cook them, we pickle them, you name it. Czech people simply love mushrooms in any shape or form and mushroom goulash is one of our favorite meals to warm our frozen bodies during a tough winter.

Ingredients

1 lb of whole fresh Portabello mushrooms or 2 1/2 cup of dried mushrooms
3 onions
3 minced garlic cloves
4 allspice
4 bay leaves
1 Tbs ground paprika
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 vegetable bouillon cube  (for non vegetarians – 1 beef bouillon cube)
oil
water
1-2 Tbs all-purpose flour to thicken the goulash

Instructions

If you use dried mushrooms, soak them in water until soften and re-hydrate. With fresh mushrooms, cut them into 1/4 inches slices. Slice the onions into thin rings or dice them, whichever you prefer.
Put enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pot with a lid, but do not too much. Add onions and mushrooms to the oil. (If you use dried mushrooms, drain them and save the water they have been soaking in) Fry the ingredients until the onions turn golden brown, then add the other ingredients and enough water to cover them. If you saved the water from the mushrooms, add then additional water. It will add to the flavor. Bring to boil and let it simmer covered for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

When all the ingredients are cooked, put 1-2 Tbs flour in a small bowl and whisk with enough water to make a thin paste add this to the pot stirring while adding. Cook stirring for couple more minutes. If the goulash is still too thin, add more of the paste.

Serve with slices of rye bread which you can dip in the goulash or with Czech bread dumplings.