This delicious veal recipe hails from the Carpathian mountain range. Hence the name veal karpaty. This area is nestled between Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland and you can see in the cuisine the overlap of cultures. This veal karpaty recipe was taught to me in Ukraine in a village called Voroktha, and it is one of my favorite dishes to introduce people to Carpathian cuisine.
This dish is very home-style and great for a weeknight meal. In fact it is essentially just an Eastern European version of a stir-fry. Feel free to customize it to your liking – because even though white mushrooms are a Carpathian staple, I do know some people don’t like mushrooms.
Another thing to note; Even though this recipe calls for veal you can use regular beef if you find it more convenient. Personally I always use veal as it is more tender but it is also a bit more expensive.
How To Cook Veal Karpaty (Carpathian Veal)
The thing that separates this dish apart from other beef and mushroom dishes is the spices. These spices are commonly used in the Carpathian region and give the dish it’s very satisfying flavor.
- 600 grams Veal – or tender beef if you prefer.
- 400 grams Porcini Mushrooms – cut into chunks
- 1 large Onion – or two medium onions. Sliced into thin rounds.
- 6 cloves Garlic – thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp Paprika – paprika gives this veal karpaty its heat, which is unusual for an Eastern European recipe. However it is not that strong and should be easily tolerable for people not used to spicy foods. (Really, it’s paprika not cayenne chili powder).
- 1 tsp Allspice – smashed
- 1 tsp Coriander Seed – ground
- 1/2 tsp Salt – or more to taste
- Black Pepper – freshly cracked, to taste
- 3 tbsp Smetana – or other sour cream. Feel free to add more for a more creamy sauce. Remember the more you add the more mild the spices will be, so if you want to add a lot but keep the flavors strong then you can up the spices as well.
- Sunflower Oil – as needed
Thinly slice your veal and place it in a large bowl. Add the paprika, allspice, coriander, salt, black pepper, and a good glug of oil. Give everything a massage to form a uniform marinade.
Heat up a pan to medium high and drop in the veal. Separate it all with a wooden spoon and cook until there is no more red. When the veal is done remove it from the pan and set aside.
There should be some residual oil in the pan from the veal, but feel free to add another glug. Add in the sliced onions and lower the heat to medium. Cook the onions until browned, softened, and slightly reduced. Take care not to burn them.
Once the onions begin to soften add the mushrooms. They will release a lot of water so stir the pan to even out the mushrooms and onions and liquid.
Cook the mushrooms and onions until very reduced (about 50%, reference prior two photos). Then add in the garlic. Stir everything together and let the garlic cook until fragrant.
When you are happy with the cooked-ness of the onions, mushrooms, and garlic, add the smetana. Smetana is a high fat version of sour cream popular in Eastern Europe. If you cannot find smetana, you can use regular sour cream – but find the highest fat % you can. You can also use creme fraiche which is a great substitute.
Once everything looks good and combined, reintroduce the veal and give everything a mix. The veal is already cooked so this step is just to warm it back up. Voila, a super simple and traditional veal karpaty.
Garnish a veal karpaty with some chopped dill or parsley and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!
What To Serve With Veal Karpaty?
There are plenty of good side dishes that pair well with veal karpaty. However I would suggest sticking to traditional Carpathian things to keep the theme of the meal standard.
- Mashed Potatoes or Whipped Potatoes make an excellent starchy side with this beef recipe.
- Melting Beets is another side option for a bit of earthy vegetable flavor. It is especially Carpathian if you sprinkle over some Bryndza cheese.
- Soup – While you may not think of soup as a great side dish, a common dish served with veal karpaty is a traditional Carpathian mushroom soup. This is also a great way to use up those Porcini or White mushrooms if you have any leftover.
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Pan
- 600 grams Veal or tender beef if you prefer.
- 400 grams Porcini Mushrooms cut into chunks
- 1 large Onion or two medium onions. Sliced into thin rounds.
- 6 cloves Garlic thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp Paprika paprika gives this veal karpaty its heat which is unusual for an Eastern European recipe. However it is not that strong and should be easily tolerable for people not used to spicy foods. (Really, it's paprika not cayenne chili powder).
- 1 tsp Allspice smashed
- 1 tsp Coriander Seed ground
- 1/2 tsp Salt or more to taste
- Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste
- 3 tbsp Smetana or other sour cream. Feel free to add more for a more creamy sauce. Remember the more you add the more mild the spices will be so if you want to add a lot but keep the flavors strong then you can up the spices as well.
- Sunflower Oil as needed (or any neutral oil)
- In a bowl add the thinly sliced veal along with the paprika, salt, allspice, coriander, black pepper, and a good glug of oil. Give everything a massage so the spices are evenly spread around the meat.
- Place a pan on medium high and add in the beef. Fry just until the meat is cooked (you see no more red on the outside). Remove the meat and set aside.
- Add onions to the pan and cook them until softened. Add more oil if you need.
- Add the mushrooms and cook them with the onions until everything is about 50% reduced. Then add the garlic and stir everything. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the smetana and stir it in, then reintroduce the veal. Stir to combine and let the veal heat up for a minute, then plate and serve. Garnish with some chopped dill or parsley and enjoy!