From the country's varied culinary repertoire Hungarian goulash is the most famous and often cooked dish outside the borders of Hungary, still many confusions and misconceptions surround its exact preparation method. Even in Hungary every other housewife or chef has its own way of cooking it by adding or omitting some of the ingredients, or changing something in the preparation process, however they would all call their gulyás the most authentic. Authentic gulyás is a beef dish cooked with onions, Hungarian paprika powder, tomatoes and some green pepper. Potato and noodles (csipetke in Hungarian) are also added according to some recipes. Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew, it’s somewhere in between. Though in Hungary it’s considered rather to be a soup than a stew, so look for it among Soups on restaurant menus. If cooked in the proper way goulash has a nice and evenly thick consistency, almost like a sauce.
- 600 g beef shin or shoulder, or any tender part of the beef cut into 2x2 cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons oil or lard
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 carrots, diced
- 1 parsnip, diced
- 1-2 celery leaves
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 tbs. tomato paste
- 2 fresh green peppers
- 2-3 medium potatoes, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed / ground
- 1 bay leaf
- ground black pepper and salt according to taste
- Heat up the oil or lard in a pot and braise the chopped onions in it until they get a nice golden brown colour.
- Sprinkle the braised onions with paprika powder while stirring them to prevent the paprika from burning.
- Add the beef cubes and and sauté them till they turn white and get a bit of brownish colour as well.
- The meat will probably let out its own juice, let the beef-cubes simmer in it while adding the grated or crushed and chopped garlic (grated garlic has stronger flavour), the ground caraway seed, some salt and ground black pepper, the bay leaf, pour water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat for a while.
- When the meat is half-cooked (approx. in 1,5 hour, but it can take longer depending on the type and quality of the beef) add the diced carrots, parsnip and the potatoes, the celery leaf and some more salt if necessary (vegetables tend to call for more salt). You'll probably have to add some more (2-3 cups) water too.
- When the vegetables and the meat are almost done add the tomato cubes and the sliced green peppers. Let it cook on low heat for another 5 minutes minutes. You can remove the lid of the pan if you want the soup to thicken.
- Serve hot with egg noodles, rice or bread.