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Hungarian Food - Gulyas with Sauerkraut and Sour Cream (Székelygulyás)

Updated on October 31, 2012

Szekely Gulyas

Szekely Gulyas
Szekely Gulyas
Hungarian Food
Hungarian Food
Szekely Gulyas
Szekely Gulyas

Hungarian Food

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Szekely Gulyas (Székelykáposzta)


According to a letter in the magazine of the Hungarian restaurateur’s guild, "In1846, the librarian of Pest County came too late to a restaurant to choose from the menu. His name was Székely and he asked the owner to serve him the leftover sauerkraut and pork pörkölt on the same plate.


The great Hungarian poet Sandor Petofi was seated nearby and the next day he asked the owner to serve him the same gulyás that Székely had eaten the night before. This time, the owner topped it with sour cream and Székely gulyás was born".


Today the two components are not cooked separately and then mixed at the table, but the ingredients are all combined in one dish. First, you start making a pork porkolt (stew), which is somewhat thicker than a gulyas which is a soup.


Then you prepare the saurkraut and add it to the porkolt. You continue cooking the mixture until the meat is tender. Finally, you top each individual serving with sour cream.


Szekeley is a common name in Hungary and also refers to an ethnic group. The Szekeleys derive their name from a Hungarian expression meaning "frontier guards". It is generally believed that they are descendants of Hungarians that were transplanted to the eastern Carpathian mountains to guard the frontier.


Today, the Sekeleys are spread over several countries with the largest concentration in Romania. I have included a map at the end of this article along with several pictures of Szekeley settlements.




Preparation Time:

60 Minutes

Cooking Time:

2 Hours



2 Lbs. Boneless Pork cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 Oz. of Bacon cut into ½ inch strips

2 Large Onions coarsely chopped

2 Lbs of Sauerkraut drained and rinsed several times

3 Cloves of Garlic peeled and finely chopped

1 8-Oz. Can of Tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons of Hungarian sweet paprika

½ Teaspoon of Caraway Seeds

1 Teaspoon of Salt

Black Pepper to taste

8 Oz. of Sour Cream 


Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, sauté the bacon until it is cooked but not crisp and then add the chopped onions and continue cooking until they are translucent.
  2. Add the cubed pork, salt, pepper and the paprika and continue cooking until the meat is no longer red – about five minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and the garlic and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes adding water if necessary to keep it from sticking.
  4. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the sauerkraut and add it to the pork mixture if you are using a Dutch oven. Otherwise, transfer everything to a large baking dish, add the caraway seed and mix well.
  5. Bake covered at 300 F for about one hour until the meat is tender.
  6. Serve topped with sour cream on each individual portion.


Serving Suggestions:

Székely gulyás can easily serve as a complete meal when accompanied by some good bread and a glass of beer. If you prefer wine, I would use something fruity like a pinot grigio or a dry riesling.


Hungarian Goulash Soup

Typical Szekeley Settlements

Szekeley Country Side
Szekeley Country Side
Szekeley Village
Szekeley Village
Szekeley Castle
Szekeley Castle
Szekeley Walled Church
Szekeley Walled Church

Hungary, Romania and the Carpathian Mountains

show route and directions
A markerBudapest, Hungary -
Budapest, Hungary
get directions

B markerDebrecen, Hungary -
Debrecen, Hungary
get directions

C markerKovaszna, Romania -
Covasna, Romania
get directions

D markerCarpathian Mountains -
Carpathian Mountains
get directions

Hungarian Paprika


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    • profile image

      Rosa 2 years ago

      And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me strigaht.

    • Tyson F Nuss profile image

      Tyson F Nuss 3 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Fun fact: Szekely is comedian Louis CK's real surname, for which the CK is a phonetic approximation.