Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crock-Pot Carnivore - Hangar Steak Goulash

There were a lot of recipes for crock-pot meals when I was growing up, most of them the bastard offspring of a can of cream of mushroom soup and some grey, freezer-burned meat.  Mom used hers mostly for stew and chili and the occassional roast.  Not everything does well in a crock- pot (such as broccoli or some pasta dishes - "al dente is for wimps!") But for larger "less than tender" cuts of meat, it's a handy appliance for the working person.

This is made with hangar steak, which I first had at a blog meet at the Belgium Brew Pub.  The hangar steak is prized for its flavor and anatomically "hangs" from the diaphragm of a steer or heifer, weighing about 1 to 1.5 pounds. It was often known as "butcher's steak" because they would often keep it for themselves rather than offer it for sale (fortunately for me, Moody's Butcher Shop in the greater Indianapolis area sells them and I will gladly make the drive to visit one of their locations).

Hangar steak is not a particularly tender piece and is best marinated and  braised or cooked quickly over high heat and served medium rare to rare, but it has a wonderful  beefy flavor you just don't find in other cuts of meat.  It's not cheap but quality butchers will offer it, sometimes on sale (I got mine in a "frozen meat sale"  for just a bit more than $13 and as prepared, it served four people.

Hangar Steak Goulash. You can make this up to go in the crock pot in just a few minutes, after you fry up a few pieces of bacon for breakfast and it will be ready when most of you get home from work.

1 and 1/2  pound hangar steak.
1  cup dry white wine

7-8  pieces of bacon, four cooked just tender, the remainder cooked crispy for garnish. Save a little bit of the drippings.
2 small cans tomatoes (with juice)
3 celery hearts, chopped (not diced fine)
3/4 large sweet onion sliced
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Jane's Krazy Salt  (Moody's sells it but the website is here. )
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (or 3 cloves)
1  and 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons HOT Hungarian paprika

Marinate the hangar steak in  a zip lock bag in dry white wine for a few hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.  Remove meat, reserving 1/2 cup of the wine (discard rest).

Place steak in crock pot and cover with tomatoes, reserved wine, celery, onion, Worcestershire, spices and four chopped slices of the  tender bacon (with a teaspoon of the drippings), reserving crispy bacon bits for topping later. Stir gently, cover and set to cook for low for 8 hours (mine has a feature which will move it to warm when the 8 hours is done).

When you get home remove about a half cup of the broth, let cool slightly and stir in a couple heaping teaspoons of flour if you would like the stock thicker and whisk until there are no lumps. SLOWLY  stream into the crock pot, stirring constantly, then place lid back on, turn heat up if it's on warm and continue cooking another 15-30 minutes to thicken.

Serve in bowls with sour cream and chopped crispy bacon.  This would also be good over noodles for those so inclined.  :-)


  1. I've never had the luck to try hanger steak. Now, growing up in Texas, I did get exposed to skirt steak early on, which is not always a popular enough cut in the Northwest for me to find it in the store.

    I'll have to try this recipe sometime.

  2. Sigh, you ARE going to make be get the crock pot out of storage aren't you... :-)

  3. NOM! That looks delicious. I hate being on a diet.

  4. Cooking tip on lump-free gravy:

    Thickeners (flour, corn starch, arrowroot starch) are small granules of starch. Those in turn are made up of very long chains of sugar molecules linked together. They absorb water very slowly when the water is cold and more quickly when the water is hot. The starch chains are curled up like a ball of yarn in the dry grains, but elongate/stretch out when they absorb water. It's these long chains, with water molecules attached, that increase the viscosity of the water they are suspended in and give you thick gravy.

    The grains tend to clump together on a micro scale. Dump them in hot water and the outside of the grains absorb water quickly. Those parts of the starch chains on the outside of a clump of grains that are touching each other will bind to the same water molecules; and thus each other! That binds the outside of the grains together while the inside is dry and now insulated from the further egress of wather. The bound-together grains thus don't separate. Voila - you have a lump!

    Solution? Put the thickener in a small bowl/cup/whatever. Put somewhere between 1 - 3 equal volumes of COLD water in to the point that you have a paste. Stir it vigorously. The grains will separate without absorbing any water (as a paste you'll get full advantage of the mechanical action on the grains rather than them just swirling around the spoon or whatever you use).

    Now you have a suspension of separated grains. Add enough water to make it pourable, stir well and pour that slowly into the hot broth/drippings/whatever while stirring vigorously. Enjoy your lump free gravy.

    I prefer corn starch myself, it's cheaper than arrowroot, doesn't require as much cooking as flour does and does not as readily burn.

  5. Ah, that should be "ingress of water", not "egress of water".

  6. Absolutely making this as one of the meals this weekend!

  7. OK, my first reaction to reading "hangar steak" was "not reduced-for-quick-sale hotdogs and lunch meat! Noooo!" Because was "hangar steak" at the small airport where I had my first flying job.

  8. Winco usually has skirt steak at a reasonable price if you're near one of their stores in the Northwest.

    Dunno if they have hanger steak, however.

  9. Hey Brigid,
    Thank you sooo much for the recipe. I'll definitely spread the word to everyone. And thank you for the Moodys Butcher shop, I'll definitely look into that as well.If your intersted in more recipes link to www.crockpotking.com, I have a ton of them.

  10. Really!? I can't believe you just introduced me to a cut of meat I've never heard of! I'm heading to my local butcher ASAP to check this out


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