A Northern Wheatear, a robin-sized bird from northern Alaska, was reported to be bouncing among the horse paddocks just outside of Paterson NJ, not far from home, so Bevson and I had to sacrifice Saturday cleaning chores to rush over and find it. Friday evening’s email update had birders still on its trail at 6:30pm. Based upon historical sightings of this species, we thought the chances were pretty good this one would stick around a few days.
Once we arrived at Garret Mountain, we realized the lack of people walking around with binoculars slung around their necks was the first sign that the bird was gone. It could be that it was hidden away somewhere, protected from the morning chill and the onset of an early fall drizzle. But remember, this bird is from NORTHERN ALASKA; this chill is a summer day at the beach. We searched among the paddocks and yards, watched a couple of horses playing “halter” over the fence, and then returned to the car.
On the drive home, our thoughts turned to food, which turned into a trip to the Ringwood Farmer’s Market, which then veered to the supermarket and eventually became my version of goulash. This recipe is my version of the stew made by a woman whose family I lived with in Austria many years ago. It’s perfect for the chilly, damp days of fall and creates wonderful aromas through the house. Try it with a nice, chewy pumpernickel.
2.5 lbs chuck for stew
1/2 cup flour
3 Tblsp paprika
1 large onion, chopped
1 cups (1 can beef broth)
3 Tblsp caraway seeds (or to taste)
1 bottle dark ale (I use Guiness stout)
1 lb sauerkraut
1 can tomato paste
2 or 3 each chopped carrots, celery, potatoes (amount to taste)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
On a plate or sheet of waxed paper, mix paprika with flour.
Cut meat into bite-sized pieces & coat in flour.
In large pot, heat 2 Tblsp olive oil. Brown meat well.
Remove meat and put in bowl.
Saute onion, then put meat back in pot. Throw in rest of ingredients and simmer 2 hours.