As summer seems a far distant memory and the mornings turn crisp, one’s mind wanders to the warm colour and spicy flavours of autumn. October is the month for the humble pumpkin to shine. Growing to sometimes monstrous proportions, much of the juicy flesh is usually discarded to make way for a candle to light up a spooky face. This year, don’t throw it away – why not try this easy to make twist on a classic Hungarian dish and serve it up for dinner after the trick or treating is done.
500g braising steak, cut into chunks
250g pumpkin, chopped into cubes
1 green and 1 red pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
800g vine ripened tomatoes, or tinned tomatoes
½ tablespoon Hungarian paprika
½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
A small bunch of fresh oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soured cream
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Heat a deep, heavy-bottomed pot on the hob on a high heat. Pour in a little glug of olive oil, wait a minute,
then add your beef to the pot making sure it turns a nice brown colour on all sides. Once browned, remove the beef and set aside on a plate.
Turn the heat down to medium, stir in the onions until caramelised and golden. Now add the crushed garlic, return the beef to the pot and add the paprika, ground caraway seeds, oregano and the bay leaf.
Add the tomatoes and vinegar and bring to the boil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and make sure you give everything a good stir. Put the lid on top and place the pot in the preheated oven for two hours.
By now the meat should be really tender and fall apart easily; this is the time to add the sliced peppers and the pumpkin and then return the pot to the oven for another 30 to 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is cooked.
Take the pot out of the oven and give it a taste for seasoning. Let it rest for 5 minutes, stir in some soured cream and sprinkle a little chopped parsley over the top for garnish. For a really special Halloween treat, you can also serve this dish inside a carved out pumpkin!