Possibly my all-time favorite kitchen appliance is the slow cooker. They are amazing! They can cook all kinds of dishes with little effort. Set ’em up and let ’em go! Cooking dry beans are a snap, and soups and stews come out great. The best part is the cooker does most of the work. After chopping the veggies, you’re done until clean up!
I got my start with a slow cooker in my pre-veg days because the long, low, slow cooking can work wonders on meat. Those days are long gone, never to return, but I have found the slow cooker also works its magic on many vegan dishes, not just beans and chili. One dish I liked in the old days was Hungarian Goulash, mostly because I like saying, “goulash.” It sounds like a fun kid’s game. Now that the days are getting shorter and colder, I found myself wanting some of those slow cooked flavors. I compared some different recipes that use tempeh or seitan to replace the traditional meat, but decided instead to make one with whole beans and mushrooms instead. Here is my version:
Vegan Hungarian Goulash
1 onion, sliced into half moons
1 large carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small potatoes, chunked
1 C mushrooms sliced small
1 can tomatoes, diced
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 C sauerkraut, rinsed briefly and drained
1/2 t caraway seeds
1-2 T Hungarian sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
1/3 C wine (red or white, your preference)
vegan tofu sour cream for serving (homemade or prepared)
parsley for garnish
Put all ingredients except garnishes in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Yes, it really is that easy!
Garnish with fresh parsley and a dollop of sour cream, or thin sour cream with cooking liquid and mix in. Sour cream is traditional for serving, but it can be omitted. Get the best sauerkraut you can find. There are lots of raw, probiotic rich krauts available now, or if you’re really adventurous, you can make your own! I like the Classic Caraway from Farmhouse Culture. If you like, you can serve it over wide noodles as is traditional, or enjoy on its own.
A Few Slow Cooker Tips:
Different slow cookers cook at different temperatures, so a little experimentation is needed at the beginning when trying new recipes. I like to start with a pre-heated cooker, so I plug mine in, turn to High, add a little boiling water from the tea kettle, then start chopping vegetables. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery first so they start cooking. Then add remaining ingredients. I like to leave it on High for the first hour while prepping and cleaning up to get everything started, then turn down to Low and let the slow cooker finish the work.