cuisine gets short shrift around here. But whenever I get to New York, I eat at Kurt Gutenbrunner's Austrian bistro Wallse, which is why I was thrilled that he's got a cookbook out this season. As soon as I got my hands on a copy of "Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna," I was planning menus to test the recipes.
Roasted squash soup with a touch of honey, swirled with iridescent green-red pumpkin seed oil, makes an autumnal first course. I made spätzle (squiggly noodles) a couple of ways. The version with white corn, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and tarragon easily works as a main course for any guests who don't eat meat. And the goulash? An Austrian friend swooned, claiming it tasted just like his grandmother's as he sneaked in an extra helping. Grandmother or no, that goulash exhibits a deep, resonant flavor. Make it with the best paprika you can find (one that hasn't been sitting in the cupboard for years).
Boiled beef tongue with horseradish sauce and the classic boiled beef shoulder are both excellent. After the goulash, however, my favorite dish has to be the roasted pork shanks with sauerkraut cooked with bacon (I used the locally made kraut from Kruegermann). Marinated overnight in caraway and garlic and basted with wheat beer as they roast, the shanks develop a tantalizing caramelized crust. I've already made this one twice.
The recipes could have been better edited (the publisher does more art books than cookbooks). I found myself caught short sometimes wondering what to do next, but I eventually figured it out. And in the end, all the recipes I tried worked, the only disappointment the
, which seemed more like a regular pancake than the ethereal bites of cloud I was anticipating.
Another plus is that the book is also an introduction to Viennese culture and design, illustrated by objects from the collection of the Neue Galerie in New York. The chef operates Café Sabarsky, a great spot for Viennese coffee and apple strudel, inside the museum. And recipes from the cafe, as well as KG's Blaue Gans, are included in the book.
"Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna" by Kurt Gutenbrunner, Jane Sigal, Ronald S. Lauder and the Neue Galerie,
— S. Irene Virbila
Adapted from "Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna" by Kurt Gutenbrunner. Gutenbrunner writes, "This is one of the three most classic dishes of my childhood. (The other two are veal schnitzel and boiled beef shoulder with vegetables and fresh horseradish.) The velvety texture of this simple cold-weather stew comes from the onions. As you cook them slowly, they become very soft and sweet. The ratio of onions to meat is important. You want a lot of onions. We always use beef shin meat."
1/3 cup canola oil
6 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon crushed dried marjoram
1 teaspoon ground caraway
1/2 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
5 pounds boneless beef shin, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
4 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Diced red and yellow bell pepper, for garnishing (optional)
Small marjoram sprigs for garnishing (optional)
1. Heat the oil
in a large casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic,
tomato paste, dried marjoram, caraway and paprika and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beef, water and bay leaf and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the meat is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
3. Skim off the fat
and taste the goulash, adjusting the seasoning as desired. Spoon the goulash onto warmed plates, garnish with the bell pepper dice and marjoram, if desired, and serve.