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My Favorite Hungarian Goulash - a comfort food

Updated on September 21, 2013

Our family's favorite Hungarian Goulash recipe

Hungarian Goulash was our son's staple when we vacationed in Europe many years ago. Everywhere we went, Hungarian Goulash was all he hankered for. There were so many variations of this hearty beef stew, rich with Hungarian sweet paprika and spices, potatoes, carrots and a savory robust sauce. However, one dish that left a lasting impression with us was the Hungarian Goulash recipe served on a train enroute from Switzerland to Germany. There was definitely something about Hungarain Goulash that can be addicting.

This is a recipe which I have tweaked to satisfy the palates of my family members and has become one of our favorite feel-good dishes in our home, especially during the cold winter months. Here is our family's favorite Hungarian Goulash recipe with step-by-step pictures and instructions.

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Get all the chopping out of the way first

Superior knives speed up cooking preparation

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J.A. Henckels International Everedge 13-Piece Knife Set with Bonus Cheese Knife

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Cut 1.5-2 lbs. chuck beef cut into chunks; season with pepper and sea salt

Cut 1.5-2 lbs. chuck beef cut into chunks; season with pepper and sea salt
Cut 1.5-2 lbs. chuck beef cut into chunks; season with pepper and sea salt

Goulash comes from the Hungarian word gulyas which mean herdsman. The hearty dish would consist of the best quality beef cooked with onions and vegetables, and of course, paprika, in a cast-iron kettle hung above a fire in an open field.

1/4 cup vegetable oil and one large yellow onion

1/4 cup vegetable oil and one large yellow onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil and one large yellow onion

Chop one large yellow onion - About 2 cups

Wash, peel and cut vegetables into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Peel and cut 2 medium carrots (about 2 cups)

2 medium parsnips (about 2 cups)

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut (about 4 cups)

Parsnip is a cream-colored root vegetable related to the carrot and is naturally cholesterol-free, low in calories and sodium.

Parsnip is a cream-colored root vegetable related to the carrot and is naturally cholesterol-free, low in calories and sodium.
Parsnip is a cream-colored root vegetable related to the carrot and is naturally cholesterol-free, low in calories and sodium.

Red bell pepper contains more vitamins A and C than bell peppers of other colors. Tomatoes are rich in potassium and antioxidant

Red bell pepper contains more vitamins A and C than bell peppers of other colors. Tomatoes are rich in potassium and antioxidant
Red bell pepper contains more vitamins A and C than bell peppers of other colors. Tomatoes are rich in potassium and antioxidant

Chop red bell pepper and tomato - Infuses sweetness and color

1. Cut one medium red sweet bell pepper in half, remove seeds and chop into 1-inch pieces.

This is a substitute for sweet Italian pepper.

2. Cut and seed one tomato and chop into 1 inch pieces

Prepare fragrant spices - Hungarian sweet paprika is the key ingredient in this dish

Mix in a small bowl:

1/4 cup Hungarian sweet paprika

2 teaspoons marjoram

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Hungarian sweet paprika - the most important ingredient in Hungarian Goulash - Loaded with nutritional values

The fiery red paprika not only adds flavor and warmth to the food, but is loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins A, E and K. It is known to aid in digestion, treats poor circulation, depression and tiredness.

Dissolve 2 beef bouillon in 4 cups water - This will be the beef broth

Canned beef broth can be used if this is available in your cupboard.

Plus one cup of red wine - to add richness and flavor

Plus one cup of red wine - to add richness and flavor
Plus one cup of red wine - to add richness and flavor

We are ready to start cooking Hungarian Goulash

Prepared ingredients ready to go - Efficient assembly line

I like to organize and set the prepared vegetables, spices and broth on a cart next to the stove for easy access.

It is so easy to just grab the ingredients at a glance.

Step 1: Cook chopped onion in vegetable oil

1. Add 1/4 cup vegetable oil into a 5 quart Dutch oven and heat oil over medium heat.

2. Add chopped onion, cover, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until soft and translucent.

Step 2: Turn heat to high and add seasoned beef - Cook uncovered for about 6 minutes

Step 3: Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, marjoram and garlic - about 2 minutes

Step 3: Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, marjoram and garlic - about 2 minutes
Step 3: Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, marjoram and garlic - about 2 minutes

Step 4: Add beef broth and red wine to browned beef chuck

To the beef and spice mixture, add:

4 cups prepared beef broth (water and 2 bouillon cubes)

1 cup red wine ( I used merlot so that we can drink the rest at dinner)

Bring to boil on high heat and then turn down heat to medium.

Cover and simmer for 1 hour until beef is almost tender.

Step 5: Add chopped parsnips and carrots

2 medium parsnips cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 medium carrots cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Simmer for additional 20 minutes.

Step 6: Add cubed potatoes and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes - Added later to prevent potatoes from getting mushy

Step 7: Add chopped red bell pepper and tomato - Simmer for 2 minutes

Step 8: Hungarian Goulash is cooked and ready to be served. - A satisfying one-pot meal

Hungarian Goulash is neither a soup or stew, has a thick consistency and can be eaten with bread or Csipetke or pinched noodles. This dish is so filling and hearty that it is a meal in itself. Add a glass of red wine or your favorite beverage and toast to a meal well done.

Step 9: Chow down and enjoy a satisfying bowl of savory Hungarian Goulash

Step 9: Chow down and enjoy a satisfying bowl of svaory Hungarian Goulash
Step 9: Chow down and enjoy a satisfying bowl of svaory Hungarian Goulash

Ladles, spoons and bowls to savor every drop of Hungarian goulash

One of the best Hungarian cookbooks - From salads, entrees, to desserts

New Hungarian Cuisine. Traditional and Contemporary Favorites
New Hungarian Cuisine. Traditional and Contemporary Favorites

This is a compilation of accurately written and easy to follow Hungarian recipes with a healthy spin to the hearty traditional cooking. Eleven chapters cover 177 mouth-watering recipes from appetizers to desserts, some updated for the modern tastes. There is a story to every recipe which will not only enchant, educate, but whet your appetite.

 

What do you think of this Hungarian Goulash recipe? - Let me know you stopped by.

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    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 

      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Looks really good. I grew up near New Brunswick, NJ, which had a large Hungarian population, and we used to have Goulash regularly. This sure brings back memories!

    • jlshernandez profile imageAUTHOR

      jlshernandez 

      5 years ago

      @GregoryMoore: This is exactly how we felt after a hearty bowl of Hungarian Goulash aboard a train from Switzerland to Germany. It was quite memorable that I had to learn to make it.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      This brings back some good memories. I had this dish one time when I was on a train from Vienna to Budapest while backpacking through Europe many years ago. The waiter in the dining cart didn't speak English, and we didn't speak Hungarian, so he just brought this dish to us without us even ordering it. It was a pleasant surprise at how tasty this dish was!

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