Donal Skehan’s family dinners for less than €10: beef goulash, chickpea burgers and tofu satay noodles
After all the fun of Christmas, January can look a little bleak, which is why, for me, it’s the perfect time to set new intentions. Although cold showers, 30 minutes of exercise and some meditation tend to slip down my to-do list by the end of the month, one thing I can commit to is eating well. This month, I want to arm you with recipes that not only provide sustenance but also are inexpensive to make. All the recipes in my column over the next few weeks will fit the bill of bringing dinner to the table while also having the added bonus that they’re cheap to produce — roughly around €10 per dinner for about four people.
he first up is an old favourite in our house — a beef goulash with paprika dumplings. Growing up, my mom often made this for a family dinner. Although she has no Hungarian links that I know of, this was a staple recipe which she handed down to me. The addition of paprika spiced dumplings are mine, and can be left out, but I think they’re perfect for soaking up all the great flavours in this stew. Skirt steak or any cheap cut of beef will do perfectly here as it has to blip away low and slow, producing beautifully tender morsels at the end of the cook.
Next up, chickpea burgers. Veggie burgers get such a bad rap because, nine times out of 10, they are pretty underwhelming. This recipe whizzes up cheap kitchen pantry staples to make a fairly impressive burger to feed to family.
Lastly, a tofu satay noodle dish. I have become a tofu convert in the last year and it’s an ingredient we should certainly get to know how to use more. I use extra-firm tofu, which means you have less moisture and can get a good crispy crust on the outside without needing to dust in cornflour. Resist the temptation to turn your pieces of tofu until they are a lovely golden brown. Mixed with an addictive peanut butter satay sauce, this is a family favourite that won’t break the bank!
Beef Goulash with Paprika Dumplings
Serves: 4 Time: 3 hours
For the goulash:
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
675g beef skirt steak or chuck steak, cut into pieces
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
Sea salt and ground black pepper
3 tbsp soured cream
Brown rice & steamed veg, to serve
For the dumplings:
150g cold butter, cubed
375g self-raising flour
1½ tsp smoked paprika
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a large, flameproof casserole pot and brown the beef on all sides. Make sure not to put too much beef in the pot at once or it won’t brown — it’s best to fry it in batches. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot if required, then add the onion, pepper and garlic and fry until soft and golden, for about 6 minutes.
3. Return the beef to the pot and stir in the paprika, oregano and flour to coat. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then bring to a steady simmer. Place the lid on the casserole pot and transfer to the oven to cook for about 2 hours.
4. Thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time, prepare the dumplings by rubbing the butter and flour together in a bowl until resembling fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the paprika and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Bring the mixture together with a couple of tablespoons of water until you have a dough. Knead slightly before forming into dumplings, each a little smaller than your palm.
5. Remove the dish from the oven and arrange the dumplings around the edge of the pot and place back in the oven for 25 minutes until they have turned golden.
6. Just before serving, stir through a little soured cream to create a wonderful marbled effect. Serve with some freshly cooked brown rice and steamed veggies.
Serves: 4 Time: 20 minutes + refrigeration time
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tahini paste or smooth peanut butter
1 large free-range egg
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
6 spring onions, chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
150g natural yoghurt
1 tsp garam masala
Wholegrain pitta breads, salad leaves and grated carrot, to serve
1. Place half the chickpeas in a food processor with the breadcrumbs, tahini paste, egg, coriander and cumin and blitz until smooth. Remove the blade and stir through the remaining chickpeas and the spring onions. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper.
2. Form the mixture into four 10cm burgers by hand or using a burger press. Place on a plate and cover, leaving to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours to firm up.
3. Place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Fry the burgers in the pan for 5-6 minutes on each side, until they have a nice golden colour.
4. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt with the garam masala. Toast and split some wholegrain pitta breads. Serve the warm burgers in the pitta breads with the spiced yoghurt, salad leaves and grated carrot.
Tofu Satay Noodles
Serves: 4 Time: 20 minutes
300g flat rice noodles
2 tbsp groundnut oil
280g block extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3cm piece fresh ginger, grated
Good pinch chilli flakes
300g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
For the sauce:
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp fish sauce
Juice of 1-2 limes
1. Cook the noodles in boiling water for 8 minutes, then drain and rinse under warm water. Set aside.
2. Blend all the ingredients for the sauce together.
3. In a large wok or pan, heat half the oil and fry the tofu cubes for 1-2 minutes on all sides until they are golden and crisp. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes and cook for a minute more, then tip onto a plate.
4. Add the rest of the oil to the pan alongside the sprouts, cut side down, and cook for 1-2 minutes until browned. Flip over and add a splash of water, before adding in the noodles with the sauce and tofu, allowing to cook for a minute more.
5. Toss together and serve.
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