Updated: Sep 3
If you have an appreciation for robust and savoury stews, Classic Hungarian Beef Goulash is a must-try for you. A mere glimpse of a bubbling pot of this dish is enough to tantalize your taste buds. Although I hail from Poland, where we cherish our own version of Polish Beef Goulash, I can attest to the delightful similarities it shares with our Hungarian neighbours. I encourage you to prepare it and savour the rich flavours first-hand!
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What is Goulash?
Goulash is a quintessential representation of Eastern European cuisine, originating as a staple among Hungarian shepherds. This hearty stew, rich in meat and vegetables, has transcended its humble beginnings, finding its way into kitchens around the world.
Where is Goulash From?
The roots of goulash trace back to Hungary in the 9th century. Hungarian shepherds crafted this dish from accessible ingredients in the countryside, making it a testament to their resourcefulness. Over the centuries, goulash became emblematic of Hungarian cuisine and began its journey into the heart of other European countries.
Different regions have since added their unique flair to the dish. In Hungary, the classic Hungarian goulash recipe is typically laden with beef or pork. Meanwhile, Austria often incorporates potatoes and sausage, and Germany sometimes opts for venison. The Czech Republic has its rendition served alongside delicious dumplings.
Poland boasts its version known as "gulasz". Characterized by beef or pork, onions, garlic, and a bountiful sprinkle of paprika, the Polish beef goulash might also include carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. Often paired with bread or potatoes, it's a favored dish during the chillier months, offering warmth and comfort. A small shot of vodka is sometimes taken to whet the appetite before indulging in such a fulfilling meal.
What goes good with Goulash?
Goulash is a hearty and flavourful dish, and there are several Goulash sides and accompaniments that pair well with it to enhance its taste and create a balanced meal. Here are some items that go well with goulash:
Bread: Especially crusty bread like sourdough or rye, which is perfect for soaking up the rich sauce.
Dumplings: In many Central and Eastern European countries, goulash is often served with dumplings. These can be potato dumplings, bread dumplings, or even spaetzle (a type of soft egg noodle or dumpling).
Rice or Pasta: Plain steamed rice or buttered noodles can be a good base for goulash, allowing the flavours of the stew to shine.
Pickles: The tangy and crunchy texture of pickles can provide a nice contrast to the rich and hearty goulash.
Potatoes: Apart from adding them directly to the goulash, you can serve it with mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, or even potato pancakes.
Sour Cream or Yogurt: A dollop on top can add a creamy tanginess that complements the spiciness of the goulash.
This recipe makes: 6 portions
Preparation time: 35minutes
Cooking time: 1-2h
Ingredients for Hungarian Goulash:
1.1 pounds of lean chuck, diced for stewing (500g)
2 medium white onions, diced medium
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green), diced large
4 1/4 cups of beef stock (1L)
7 ounces of chopped tomatoes (200g)
A splash of red wine for deglazing
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tbsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried marjoram
1/2 tsp of caraway seeds
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish
How to prepare Hungarian Goulash:
1. Preheat the fan oven to 200C (392F).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the diced onions, peppers, garlic, 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, 1 tbsp of paprika, 1 tsp of oregano, and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Transfer the seasoned vegetables onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Divide the diced beef into two parts and sear each batch in the frying pan until browned. Once ready, transfer the beef into a medium-sized pot. Add a splash of red wine to deglaze the frying pan, and pour the contents into the pot with the beef.
4. Add the roasted vegetables and sliced carrots to the pot with the beef. Cover everything with beef stock, and season with 1 tbsp of smoked paprika, 1 tsp of marjoram, and 1/2 tsp of caraway seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and cook until the beef is tender (1-2 hours, depending on the cut of beef used).
5. Once the beef is tender, remove the lid and add the chopped tomatoes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper to taste.
6. In a small pan, melt 1 tbsp of unsalted butter and combine with 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour to create a roux. Stir the roux into the Goulash to thicken the sauce.
7. Serve the Goulash with toasted sourdough bread and garnish with freshly chopped parsley. For some extra heat, add chili, or serve with soured cream to balance the flavours. The Goulash is also delicious served over pasta, boiled potatoes, or pearl barley. Enjoy!
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Check out my other recipes with Beef:
Beef Bourguignon - is a classic French stew made with tender beef, aromatic vegetables, and a rich wine sauce that will transport your taste buds to the French countryside - give it a try for a comforting and flavourful meal.
Mexican Slow Cooked Chilli Beef Quesadilla - recipe will tantalize your taste buds with tender beef, spicy chilli, and melted cheese, making it the perfect dish to enjoy with family and friends.
Bigos Królewski - Polish Hunter's Stew - Bigos - Polish Hunter's Stew is a hearty, flavourful dish made with cabbage, meat, and an assortment of vegetables and spices, and it's definitely worth trying out in your own kitchen!