Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pork Goulash

To me, goulash involved some kind of tomato sauce and paprika. This dish includes neither. It hails from South Dakota, where I have been, but did not dine widely. So,it's some kind of weird goulash, and perhaps you phantom readers can enlighten us about its origins. You take 1 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder, brown it in lard (vegetable shortening) and then add one large chopped onion (I used two to kind of pep things up) 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds(I doubled it.) Clearly these are timid spicers who wrote these recipes. Then you add 3 cups pork broth (I used vegetable broth because I didn't have any pork broth, nor the 3 hours required to make it) and the killer, three tablespoons grated hard rye bread.
Now D.C. is not the whitebread place it once was, where there was one Italian market squirreled away in the recesses of the Florida Avenue Market. However, it is not, and never will be, New York, or some other incredibly ethnic corner of the U.S. So the rye bread gave me pause. I had an itinerary for that afternoon, and it did not involve driving miles to find the correct hard rye bread. However, I did know that the supermarket stuff would not do.
A bakery was on the way to the yoga studio, my objective. So I stopped there. No rye bread. "We do carry it," I was assured. Well great. So, the next and last alternative was a place that has been in Washington since way before I arrived on the scene, that used to advertise that it catered to the carriage trade, and I believe, have a little horse and carriage in its logo. This place, which was so popular in the 70s and early
80s that occasional fights would break out in the produce section, and children parked in carts outside the produce section would burst into tears because their mothers had been swallowed up in a sea of ladies battling for mushrooms, has since morphed into a small produce store and a larger liquor store/deli.
I figured one of these two places had to have rye bread. I first went into the produce store and back in the back found a homemade bread stand with plexiglass doors and no labels. Which was rye bread, I inquired.
The checker, in tones that indicated she got asked this question all the time, and was damned if she was going to ever find out the answer, said she didn't know. She said that the person who knew about bread wasn't there. Resisting the extremely strong urge to say at the top of my lungs, "WHY DON'T YOU PUT LABELS ON THEM, YOU **** YO YO?" I made my you are an idiot, face, and went next door into the liquor store-cum-deli and inquired of the cashiers. They led me to the deli counter, whereupon perched a selection of rye bread. I chose Farmers Rye Bread, thinking that any bread made on a farm, or pretending to have been made on a farm, would have more heft than something made in a supermarket.
This was actually an excellent choice. It's called Bauern Schnitten Roggenbrot, and is made in Canada. While it's not hard enough to grate, which is what you are supposed to do, it is quite dense and vinagary, and does well thickening the goulash. Also, it's very good in sandwiches. So, check it out, Bevis.

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