I’ve been a big fan of Austrian wine for quite some time. Although I love the wines I never realized just how wonderful the regional cuisine is till a visit there last year. Now I’ve got my schnitzel on before but since last year I’ve developed a few kicking variations on my favorite dishes including Tafelspitz, Goulash, Pumpkin Soup and Kaese Spaetzle.
With the weather turning colder my craving for these dishes caused me to invite a few friends over for an Austrian inspired food and wine pairing. Deciding on a menu of pumpkin soup and goulash with tiny pearl dumplings I hit up my cellar for some wine pairings!
For the soup pairing I chose a white field blend, Gemischter Satz, made from a number of different varietals grown and vinified together. Austrian vintners have revived this age-old style of wine in the vineyards within the city limits of Vienna and it is one of my favorite styles of white wine. The range of aroma and flavor in this unusual white wine is straight up intoxicating. My recent favorite GS (for short) is made by Jutta Ambrositch, a former graphic designer turner winemaker. Friend and mentor Fritz Weininger saw the promise in the multi talented Ambrositch and offered up an existing vineyard site in the district of Nussbergh to get her started. Her Weinbau Ambrositch Sommeregg GS, 2010 made from old vines is incredible! It is chock full of layers of white spice, flower petals and citrus, I’d like to serve a glass to all that claim white wine is just not serious or interesting enough. The perfect wine to start any evening. Everyone loved it, on its own and paired with the soup. Good thing I had 2 bottles!
The reds wines made in Austria can be as complex and thought-provoking as Freud. I couldn’t decide between a Saint Laurent or a Blaufrankisch so chose to go with a blend from Weingut Welkovits. Taranis 08, made from a blend of Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt and Cabernet Franc is Welkovits specialty wine, one I was lucky enough to buy 2 bottles of. My visit to this tiny vineyard in Neuiedlersee-Hugelland was the highlight of my visit to Austria. Eva Welkovits warmly welcomed myself and 2 other bloggers into her small winery to a tour and tasting, complete with a 3 course lunch made by her and her mother. Her goulash paired with the Taranis was the star of the meal! The rich, elegant, full flavor was perfect with the spicy, tender pieces of meat in a delicious gravy . Truly heaven on earth, I only hope my version would make Eva and her mother proud.
Note- Welkovits wines are not available in the USA but seek out other Austrian reds. Try a Blaufrankisch, Saint Laurent or Zweigelt, they are really very unusual and food friendly.
Everyone loved the pairings and the food! Below is my version of Goulash, try it and let me know how you liked it!
Austro Hungarian Goulash- serves 8
2 tablespoons butter
2 lbs bottom round beef or stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes and patted dry
2 large onions, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, diced fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika/mix of hot and sweet, I like it spicy so I add a bit more hot
3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, coarsely crushed with back of fry pan into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
4 medium size Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
3 cups water
1 cup beef stock
peel of half fresh lemon, chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat in large stock pot, and add chopped onions and cook till just slightly opaque, stirring lightly. Add garlic and continue cooking till opaque but not browned. Remove from pot and set aside in a heat proof bowl.
Melt remaining butter over medium heat and add meat. Brown on all sides, make sure to stir so it won’t burn or stick.
Add onion/garlic back to pot. Stir in paprika and continue cooking for a few minutes to coat beef. Add tomato paste, water and stock. Stir to incorporate all ingredients and bring to a medium boil.
Turn down to just boiling and simmer for 1 1/2 hours stirring often.
Add potatoes, marjoram and caraway seed. Simmer for an additional hour or until potatoes are done and meat is tender.
Stir in lemon peel, season with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls with parsely garnish and a crusty bread.
Happy wine pairing. Stay tuned for my post on Kaese Spaetzle!
Some choose to serve this with just the small pearl sized dumplings known as csipetke omitting the potatoes in recipe. Here is the recipe I use for csipitke with the addition of a tablespoon of parsley purée in the mixture. If you want to get really fancy you can serve it topped with a sunny side up egg like the Goulash museum in Vienna but it’s not necessary.