Hungarian Goulash. Oh my. Why did it take me so long to make this? It is so easy, so tasty, so simple. Lately I have been challenging myself to make at least one new recipe every week or at least to repeat a non-traditional dish that we have enjoyed in the past. The idea of a goulash popped into my mind and I’m so glad it did. I am now HOOKED on this dish. It is quickly becoming a regular feature on our meal plan.
There are many variations of Goulash. There is even an “American Goulash” which is not even nearly the same as a Hungarian Goulash. American Goulash is kind of like Bolognaise but with noodle pasta instead of spaghetti. Hungarian Goulash however is beef cubes, browned with onions and then cooked for a long time at a low temperature in a rich tomato base. It’s flavorful and rich and beefy and tomatoe-y and yummy. Just look at these pictures! Richness! The flavors will send your brain into alpha waves of blissfulness. It is an absolute silencer!
This recipe is very basic, which is what I love about it. The ingredient list is long but workable. Most of the items would be available in a well-stocked pantry. Having said that, first time around, I couldn’t find Marjoram or Carraway Seeds and substituted with Oregano and Fennel respectively. Still tasted DELICIOUS.
So what makes a goulash a Goulash? What are the essential Ingredients?
- Beef – This dish was traditionally made with all types of beef cuts
- Paprika – This addition was only featured in post 16th century recipe versions but never part of the original recipe
- Red peppers – Also a “modern” addition, I left these out because I wanted to keep the recipe simple
- Onions – part of the original recipe
Goulash is a dish which can be traced back to the 9th Century! Hungarian Shepherds made this dish by cooking and flavoring meat, then drying it out (with the help of the sun) and then placing it in bags made from the stomach of sheeps (I know I know!!) . They would then re-constitute it using boiling water. Olden day version of heat and eat meals!
Before having kids, my husband and I went on a few skiing trips together and Goulash was one of those dishes you found being served in the Alpine huts. Heartwarming and nourishing. That and the Gluhwein, in my opinion, are good enough reasons to go skiing. But because we don’t know exactly when we will be travelling again, we can just make Goulash at home! Oh yaaaas.
It is traditionally served with sour cream, which I have referred to as optional in my recipe below but I actually want to say, it is essential. Even if you can only get cream, add some lemon juice to it and make sour cream. Make it happen people, make the Sour Cream a reality. And then sprinkle with any fresh herbs you are growing – Thyme is my favorite for any kind of stew-type dish.
A delicious and hearty meal, Hungarian Goulash is a traditional dish that should feature on our meal plans at least once a week! The recipe is easy and the ingredients very straight-forward. Cook slowly for the ultimate in tender meat and taste!
- 550–850g Red Meat (approximate – more or less is fine) (can use Rump/Sirloin/T-Bone)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil (divided)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 6 small garlic cloves (or 3 large), crushed
- 2 tablespoons Paprika
- 2 large onions
- 1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds ( or substitute with 1/2 teaspoon Fennel seeds)
- 1 teaspoon dried Marjoram (or substitute with Thyme)
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups beef broth
- Optional: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- Optional: 1 cup sour cream for serving
- Chop meat into cubes and sprinkle with flour, salt and a few good grinds of black pepper.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter into a large pot, and using medium to high heat, brown the meat in 2-3 batches (depending on how much meat you have and size of pot). If you put all the meat in the pot at once, you run the risk of the meat “sweating” and producing too much liquid and you will battle to brown it, so make sure to add just enough beef cubes to cover the base of the pot and reserve the rest for the next batch. Be careful not to burn the flour on the bottom of the pan.
- Once the meat has browned, remove from the pot and set aside.
- If necessary, deglaze the pan of any flour/meat residue using a little water (like a quarter cup or so) , pour into a cup and you can add it back to the pot later for some lovely extra flavour.
- Add 2 tablespoons cooking oil to the pot and on medium heat, fry the onions and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Mix in the the Paprika, Marjoram and Caraway seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and mix through.
- Add the meat back to the pot.
- Add the beef stock and Bay leaf and stir the mixture. Add the optional Worcestershire Sauce.
- Cover with foil or ovenproof lid and place in the oven. Cook on 160C or 320F for 3-4 hours or even longer – until meat is tender, falls apart easily and the fluid has reduced into a tasty sauce. Alternatively, cook on the stovetop on low heat (just a simmer) for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom is not burning.
- Serve on a bed of mashed potato, pasta or rice and add a dollop of sour cream to the top of the Goulash for another layer of incredible flavor.