Good, Hungarian Goulash (or gulyás) is a hearty soup or stew of meat, noodles, and vegetables like potatoes. The dish was originally made by cattle herders and stockmen, and can be prepared as either a soup or a stew depending on what you're in the mood for.
The following recipe is a fantastic, traditional gulyás and contains many characteristics of modern, Hungarian cooking including lard, onion, and paprika.
- 2-1/2 cups cubed blade steak beef
- 5tbs lard
- 7/8 cup onion
- 1tbs paprika
- 1tbs salt
- 1tbs garlic
- 1 tbs caraway seeds
- 1-3/4 lb potatoes
- 1 cup green pepper
- 1 small, fresh tomato
- Beef stock or water to taste (I generally start with 2 cups and work up from there)
- 6 portions prepared soup pasta (I recommend egg noodles unless you know where to find or make good csipetke)
Make sure the meat is cubed into about 1/2 inch pieces. Chop the onion into very fine pieces.
In a frying pan, add the lard over medium heat until it melts. Add in onion and sautee until it becomes a golden yellow. Turn down the heat as low as it will go, then add the paprika while stirring rapidly. Ad the meat, keep stirring, then add the salt. You will want to keep stiring until the meat is well browned and all the liquid is evaporated. This should take maybe 3-5 minutes. Don't shorten this time. The taste of this dish comes from this roasting, and if you overheat the lard your paprika will turn dark and be bitter as opposed to the unique flavor and bright, red color it should have.
Once the meat is browned and all the liquid is evaported add caraway seeds, chopped garlic, and a small amount of beef stock, cover, and braise the meat slowly. Stir it occasionally, and add small amounts of beef stock if necessary. Remember: You want to braise the meat, not boil it.
While te meat is being braised, cube the potatoes, green pepper, and tomatoes into about 1/3 inches and make sure your soup pasta is ready. Just before the beef is completely tender, reduce the pan juices, add potatoes and let them brown. Once the potatoes are almost done cooking add green pepper, tomato, and stock. Serve over prepared noodles or just add them straight to the pot. Adjust the consistency of the dish (soup or stew) by adding stock.