Hungarian Goulash

Total Time:
2 hr 45 min
45 min
2 hr

4 to 6 servings

  • 1 strip bacon
  • 2 onions, medium dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons good quality sweet paprika (see cook's note)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 2 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 or 5 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for plating
  • 1 pound prepared spaetzle, as an accompaniment
  • Cucumber salad, as an accompaniment, recipe follows
  • Cucumber Salad:
  • 2 cucumbers
  • Seasoned salt
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Pinch dill, dried or fresh (optional)
  • Dollop sour cream (optional)

Cook's Note: using good quality paprika is important. After about a year, paprika spice tends to lose its intensity. Use the best quality possible!

In a cold, heavy 6 to 8-quart stewing pot, fry bacon over low-medium heat until fat is rendered, and then discard bacon slice.

Saute onions in the bacon fat for a few minutes, do not allow the onions to brown. If bacon does not provide enough fat, add a little olive oil to prevent the onions from sticking. When onions become glossy, add the beef, sauteing with the onions for about 10 minutes, covered, until the meat is browned.

Meanwhile, chop and crush the garlic with the caraway seeds; add to meat and onions. Remove pot from heat. Stir in paprika rapidly with a wooden spoon. Immediately after paprika is absorbed, add the warm water. The water should just cover the meat, leaving room for potatoes.

Add beef bouillon cubes. Cover pot and cook over low heat for about 1 hour.

While stew is braising, prepare the tomatoes by cutting into 1-inch pieces. Core green peppers and cut into strips. After 1 hour of braising, add the tomatoes and green pepper. Add a little more water, if necessary and a little more salt if you need it. Simmer slowly for another 30 minutes.

Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized cubes and set aside in a bowl of water. Add potatoes, and cook another 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender and the goulash is done.

Once goulash is finished, dissolve sour cream and a little of the goulash sauce in a cup. Add to goulash, it should give a creamy consistency. Serve goulash with spaetzle on the side, adding an extra dollop of sour cream to each plate.

Peel and slice cucumbers very thinly. The side of a metal grater with the wide slots works best here, or you can use a mandoline. Place cucumbers in a flat dish and sprinkle throughout with salt, making sure that all the slices are salted. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. The salt will draw the moisture out of the cucumbers. Cut the onion into paper-thin slices and place in a container. Once the cucumbers have released water, use your hands to squeeze out the excess water and add to the onions. The cucumbers are supposed to be limp, but still crisp.

In a measuring cup mix vinegar, water, sugar and paprika to create a vinaigrette. Pour over the cucumbers and onions and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Cook's secret: make the cucumbers before the goulash and it will be perfectly marinated by the time you are done making the stew!

Serve with a sprinkle of dill and a little dollop of sour cream if desired.

The recipes for this program, which were provided by contributors and guests who may not be professional chefs, have not been tested in the Food Network's kitchens. Therefore, the Food Network cannot attest to the accuracy of any of the recipes.

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4.1 30
I am sure people that have never had goulash =will think its great but for one thing there is no pasta or spatzela of ANY kind in goulash, and another have the bacon for breakfast but keep it OUT of the stew, and use any kind of meat you wish you are not limited to beef, veal, pork, venison or buffalo all work great! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just like my german mother in law would make!! Fantastic!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is great. I have made it many many times, and it is (almost perfect every single time. I say almost because I think the recipe writer forgot to add flour to the sour cream to thicken the broth. (probably why it ended up "soupy" to some. They probably should have said "up to" two cups of water if necessary, not a hard two cups. Every single cut of stewing meat I have ever used puts out different quantities of juice depending on the amount of fat in it. I left the cover off in the last half hour and it rendered a beautiful gravy. Also, I have NEVER EVER heard of kolbasz (or kielbasa to Americans being used in Hungarian Goulash. I have an enormous collection of Hungarian cookbooks and they all use beef. Besides it is an old hunter's stew, and I doubt the herdsmen in Hungary had Kielbasa standing by. Cows, yes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have to say in my family we do make it with beef, I have no clue what kolbasz is and I am Hungarian. I do agree in America It's usually served over egg noodles which is how my father made it for me growing up, but it can be served over rice I believe. However I agree with the last poster on the fact that the bacon should be omitted and I'd double the amount of paprika at least. My family also does not normally use caraway seeds, but to each their own. This is a Hungarian peasant dish so each family has their own way of making it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I don't even have to try this recipe to tell you it's wrong. Trust me I'm Hungarian. first off, YOU DON"T PUT BACON IN GOULASH! second, no where NEAR enough paprika. and you ESPECIALLY don't use sweet paprika. also it's almost never made with spatzel. you also aren't supposed to use BEEF! it's made with kolbasz (If you don't know what kolbasz is you shouldn't even be trying to make hungarian food. this recipe is garbage. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is a certain road to disappointment if you are looking for flavor. I followed it without deviation and ended up with a bland soup. If I were to try it again (which I doubt) I would tripple the amount of any indicated spice. There is significant ambiguity regarding the addition of tomatoes: two tomatoes from a can or two cans of tomatoes??? I opted for four tomatoes from the can and did NOT add any of the liquid. Notwithstanding, the result was a thin tasteless soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this recipe several times, and it's wonderful. I tweak it just slightly by adding more caraway seeds (1 teaspoon instead of a pinch); I toast and grind them before adding. I change the Paprika by using 1 tablespoon of hot Hungarian Paprika and 1 tablespoon of sweet Paprika. The Cucumber Salad rocks with the Goulash. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I found this recipe easy to follow, and very amenable to adjustments in quantities. I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned, increased the amount of bacon and onions, and it turned out delicious! I've cooked this about a dozen times, and everyone loves it. Tastes just like the family-made goulash my husband and I had in Europe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried this recipe for my first attempt at goulash. It was pretty good...but not great. First of all, one slice of bacon does not render enough fat to saute the onions and the beef chunks. I knew that before I even started, so I used four slices of extra-thick bacon and cut them into matchstick strips. I removed the bacon to saute the onions and beef, but I cannot understand the direction to discard the bacon. What a waste! I returned the bacon to the stew later on (as you would when making boeuf bourgignon). The beef was extremely tender after braising for two hours and the aroma of the stew was heavenly. But the sauce was watery. I had to put a couple of tablespoons of flour in a small bowl and whisk in some of the hot broth, then return the mixture to the pot and cook a few minutes longer. The thicker sauce was velvety and enrobed the beef and potatoes. Next time I'll try the Tyler Florence version. I think it may be a more dynamic recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm cooking this recipe as I write this comment/question. The recipe calls for: 2 Whole canned tomatoes I read this as, 2 whole tomatoes from a can of Whole Tomatoes, not 2 cans of Whole Tomatoes. Is this correct? The more I read it, the more I'm unsure. I'm at the stage now, where the tomatoes go in, next. It's like the SNL skit, "You can never put too much water into a Nuclear Reactor". Never put too much water, or, you can never put too much water? Oh well, in the meantime, I'll use just two whole tomatoes from one can. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My granmother is Hungrian and she makes it with spaetzle or egg noodles. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hungarian* darn phone! item not reviewed by moderator and published

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Recipe courtesy of Jamie Deen