On a cold, wintery day, there is nothing better than the warmth of a hearty bowl of Hungarian goulash. After much research, I adapted a recipe by Wolfgang Puck. I’m glad I trusted my instinct that his would taste pretty authentic considering he is from Austria. According to my research, traditional goulash should NEVER contain green peppers or tomatoes. So many recipes I found contained canned tomatoes, but this is supposedly a BIG no-no. Another key, I learned, to a kick-ass goulash is onions, and lots of ’em. Slicing them thin (use a mandolin if you can) and sweating them down may take a bit more time, but the sweetness and oomph it adds along to the paprika is a taste that can’t be beat.
I have used most of Puck’s recipe, but have adapted a bit of it based on a few other recipes I read as well. Many eat goulash alone, with a side of spaetzle or flour dumplings. I added some boiled potatoes for my starch. Americans may put goulash over rice or egg noodles and top with sour cream, but that is not traditonally Hungarian. I’m also a big lover of paprika, so I use alot… you can scale it down a bit if you’d like. In fact, if you do not like it a bit spicy, do not add the hot paprika and just add one more tablespoon of sweet.
HUNGARIAN GOULASH (Adapted from Wolfgang Puck’s recipe)
- 2 medium to large onions, thinly sliced (about 4 – 5 cups)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
- 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 tablespoon hot paprika
- 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram (I substituted oregano), minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups beef or chicken stock
- 2 to 3 pounds of beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in halves or quarters
- Salt and Pepper
What to do:
- In a large saute pan or dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium low and slowly cook your thinly sliced onions until they are translucent. This should take about 30 minutes if you cook them on low and slowly. If you want to cook ’em faster, go right ahead. I just love the sweetness the slow cooking of the onions brings.
- Add your beef pieces and allow to sear a bit.
- Add your garlic and ground caraway seeds and cook for a minute or so.
- Add the paprika (both hot and sweet), the marjoram or oregano, thyme and bay leaf and allow to saute for a minute.
- Add the tomato paste and your stock along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Bring this to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for at least an hour (an hour and a half is optimal). This will allow the meat to become tender.
- While meat is cooking, boil your potatoes until they are parboiled and then add them to your goulash a few minutes before you are ready to serve. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Serve in a bowl with enough bits of meat and a few halves of potatoes and enjoy.
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