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Hungarian Goulash is different from the Midwest Goulash I grew up with.  The Midwest version was always elbow macaroni, hamburger, tomatoes and sometimes, cheese. I experienced the traditional version in a Hungarian restaurant in Denver and again in Eastern Europe.  Goulash (Gulyasleves) is one of the national dishes of Hungary.  It reminds me of our traditional Beef Stew, although not as thick as stew and uses different spices.

This recipe is an adapted version of the recipe from a tour guide, Food Tour Budapest.  We had a marvelous tour of wonderful restaurants, meandering the streets of Budapest experiencing traditional food and drink in historic and unique restaurants.  How I wish I could travel again and experience such a tour.  Some day… In the meantime, I can recreate the food memories in my own kitchen.

HUNGARIAN GOULASH

2 tablespoons lard or cooking oil (I used Olive Oil)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika; add a bit of spicy paprika if desired
1 pound cubed beef stew meat or pork shoulder
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons caraway seed
4 cups water (I added a bit more as the goulash cooked)
1 whole red pepper, chopped
1 whole tomato, peeled and chopped (or a can of tomatoes)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, halved and sliced
1/2 cup chopped celery
Optional:  small bits of pasta

  • Add the lard or oil to the stew pot.
  • Add onions to the hot lard or oil.  Cook the onions until they are glossy and saucy.
  • Remove from the fire and add the paprika.  Mix with the onion.  Add a bit of water, to prevent from burning.
  • Add the meat cubes and put back on the fire.  Sprinkle with salt and caraway seed.  Add more or less, depending on your tastes
  • Add the chopped carrots and celery.
  • Once the meat has a bit of color, add water, chopped pepper and tomatoes. Lower heat to simmer and cover. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • After one and a half or two hours, check the meat. Add the chopped potatoes and cook through, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the pasta pieced (optional) when the potatoes are almost done.
  • Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as desired.

Serve with bread (white or rye).  Optional: add freshly ground paprika or spicy green pepper.

Recipe adapted from FoodTour Budapest and Hungarian Cooking Goulash Soup.