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Traditional Goulash Recipe : Guide to Making Traditional Goulash

Traditional Goulash Recipe

When it comes to hearty, comforting meals with rich flavors, nothing quite beats a traditional goulash. Originating from Hungary, this dish has won hearts all around the world for its delicious combination of tender meat, paprika-infused broth, and savory vegetables. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of making the perfect traditional goulash, and we'll share some history and tips along the way.

What is Traditional Goulash?

Traditional goulash is a classic Hungarian stew that's known for its deep, earthy flavors and simplicity. It's traditionally made with beef, but variations with pork, veal, or even venison are also common. The key to its distinctive taste lies in the generous use of Hungarian sweet paprika, which gives the dish its vibrant red color and a slightly smoky, peppery flavor.

Traditional Goulash

Some versions are simply pieces of beef in a rich, savory broth or gravy, some have potatoes, some have carrots and other root vegetables and others have bell peppers or green vegetables such as green beans. The one ingredient every version of goulash shares is the enticing pungency of Hungarian paprika.

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 2 pounds of beef stew meat, cubed
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream and fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

How to Make Traditional Goulash Recipe?

  • Sear the Meat: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes and sear them until they're browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.
  • Sauté the Onions and Garlic: In the same pot, add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté them until they become translucent and fragrant.
  • Add Paprika and Caraway Seeds: Stir in the Hungarian sweet paprika and caraway seeds, coating the onions and garlic evenly. This step is crucial for developing that signature goulash flavor.
  • Incorporate the Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, and Potatoes: Add the diced bell peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes to the pot. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Return the Meat and Add Beef Broth: Return the seared beef cubes to the pot, and pour in the beef broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer to Perfection: Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the goulash simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours. The meat should become tender, and the flavors will meld together beautifully.
  • Serve and Garnish: Ladle the hot goulash into bowls. You can garnish it with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley for an extra touch of authenticity.
Traditional Goulash
Traditional Goulash

Pro Tips for the Perfect Goulash
  • Choose the Right Meat: Use quality beef stew meat with a good balance of lean and fatty parts. This will ensure your goulash is tender and flavorful.
  • Don't Rush the Paprika: Properly toasting the paprika in the oil is crucial for unlocking its full flavor potential. Be patient during this step.
  • Experiment with Spices: While traditional goulash relies on paprika and caraway seeds, feel free to add your favorite spices for a personal touch.
  • Serve with Bread: Goulash pairs wonderfully with crusty bread or traditional Hungarian dumplings called "nokedli."

Why This Recipe is a Keeper !

I had versions of traditional Hungarian Goulash in America and the Czech Republic before becoming obsessed with it on a recent trip to Budapest, Hungary.

That obsession led me to purchase two Hungarian cookbooks so that I could replicate goulash at home. However, the goulash recipes in each cookbook were quite different from each other because Hungarian home cooks and chefs all have their own versions.

My version of Traditional Goulash Soup is a combination of the two authentic versions from the Hungarian cookbooks I purchased in Budapest, along with a familiar online version with ingredients that are easy to get in any grocery store.

This traditional Hungarian goulash soup recipe is:

Absolutely delicious!

Now that you've mastered the art of making traditional goulash, you can savor a taste of Hungary right in your own kitchen. Whether it's a cold winter's night or you simply crave some comfort food, this recipe is sure to satisfy your taste buds and warm your soul. Enjoy!
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