MAGYAR GOULASH (HUNGARIAN)
Heat 1 generous tablespoon diced pancetta in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy dutch oven; when the pancetta browns and renders its fat, sautee 1 chopped onion and two large, thin-sliced garlic cloves in it. Add and brown 2 pounds boneless stewing beef in 1-inch cubes; stir in 2 tablespoons good-quality paprika (I used a Hungarian brand) and 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, add 4 cups chicken stock, cover, reduce heat and simmer. (Try to hit this point about 90 minutes before dinner, although longer simmering won't hurt and may help, especially if the beef is a tough cut.)
While the meat is simmering, peel 2 parsnips and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Add them to the simmering goulash about 60 minutes before serving time.
Cut one large green bell pepper and one large red bell pepper into 1-inch squares. Peel and cut 2 baking potatoes into 1/2-inch dice. Add the peppers and potatoes to the goulash, with 1 cup of tomato sauce, with 40 minutes to go before serving time.
Measure out 4 ounces of egg noodles and stir them in 10 minutes before dinner.
Chop 1/4 cup parsley and stir it in at serving time. Check seasonings, and serve.
These quantities filled the dutch oven to the top and made enough goulash to last all winter. No problem -- it freezes well.
It went very well with a Rosenblum Zinfandel. It may be more than a coincidence that Count Agoston Haraszthy, the purported "Father of Zinfandel" in America, was ... Hungarian!