The first time I had Veal Paprikash was when I visited Budapest as part of my “hosteling in Europe” tour in the summer of 1969. This was after I had been to Moscow and Leningrad, and Hungarian cuisine was a major relief from the boredom of poorly prepared Russian food. Truth be told, I have a natural inclination towards eastern European cooking… and for what many folks label as “Jewish Cuisine”, is nothing more than reflections of Polish, Russian, Slovakian, Hungarian & etc. cooking. Zero Mostel once quipped that good cholesterol rich Romanian food was responsible for more Jewish deaths than Adolf Hitler. This Veal Paprikash recipe is fabulous. And “fabulous” is even better when it’s not hard to assemble and prepare. Further, this recipe is an excellent take on an eastern European comfort dish.
For wine, a medium-bodied red, or a fuller white is my “go to” for veal dishes. And as such I drift to either Pinot Noir of Nebbiolo for varietals on the red side (Chardonnay or Riesling on the white side). I selected the Misc “Bryson’s Block” Pinot Noir because I was looking for a wine with a shade deeper flavor core over a Côte de Beaune Burgundy. The choice was letter perfect. Grant Long has created a splendid wine that has all the layering of flavors that I love in great Pinot Noir, yet it doesn’t overpower the senses. The wine exhibits restraint necessary in balancing wine to the Paprikash.
Misc Pinot Noir “Bryson’s Block” ’18 (Russian River, CA)
The fruit for this Pinot Noir was sourced from the Starscape Vineyard (Formerly Mark West Vineyard) in the heart of the Russian River. This vineyard is planted to 3 different clones of pinot noir, Clone 667, Pommard, and 777. The fruit comes specifically from the tiny “Bryson’s Block” that receives optimal sun exposure, and overall produces the best fruit in the entire vineyard. This wine offers a wonderful purity. Nimble on its feet, yet with a layered palate of wild strawberries (the French call it sauvage) kissed with a subtle earthiness. And the perfectly graceful finish maintains it supple flavors thru to a soft fading length. Only two barrels are produced (roughly 54 cases). The winemaker is Grant Long, who has gained well earned fame as a garagiste winemaker… focusing on small production wines.
6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
2 lbs veal, cut into 1” cubes
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1½ cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced sweet onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 minced garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
½ cup of all purpose flour
1 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup sour cream
10 oz medium egg noodles
3½ tsp chopped fresh parsley
7 tsp chopped fresh chives
1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size. Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming. Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!
2. Place the 7 ingredients from the veal thru to the bay leaves in slow cooker. Mix well
3. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (thru to the pepper) in a small bowl, gradually add wine, stirring ‘til well blended. Add flour mixture to the slow cooker & blend well. Cover and cook on LOW for six hours.
4. Turn slow cooker off, let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream. Serve over cooked egg noodles and garnish generously with fresh chopped parsley and chives.
5. Dig in.
n.b. Luckily our local Stop & Shop has been carrying veal stew meat which worked perfectly for this recipe & meant that it eliminated a prep step. I doubled the amount of paprika.