Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás)

2 Oct

Goulash has a fairly long history, as it is traced back to 9th century Hungarian shepherds (the term gulyás translates to “herdsmen”), when soup was an important part of the lifestyle. People would dry meats and veggies and then add hot water later to create a soup, and goulash was born. Although paprika is a signature spice of both Hungarian cuisine and this dish, it wasn’t introduced until the 16th century (bell peppers came from the New World), so the original variations of this dish were paprika-less.

Goulash is often classified as a stew here in the United States, but many Hungarians maintain that it’s a soup, often to differentiate it from a similar, thicker dish called pörkölt. Goulash is often served over egg noodles or spätzle, but many variations use potatoes, including mine. They help to bring a hearty feel to the dish, plus they conveniently thicken the sauce at the same time.

You’ll Need:
2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1″ pieces
2 smallish onions, blended
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup each chicken and beef broths
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp each dried marjoram, caraway seeds
1/2 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp lard (coconut oil is okay too)

You might be wondering why the recipe calls for two halves of peppers. It’s for color; if you would like to be economical and only buy one color of pepper, I won’t hold it against you.

Blended onion and minced garlic. The onion kind of looks like lime sherbet, huh?

Cut up your chuck roast, leaving a little fat on it if you’d like. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Warm up one tbsp of lard in a dutch oven on medium heat for a few minutes, then brown half of the meat, turning every couple minutes. They should be nice and browned after about six minutes, remove them and set aside. Add the second tbsp of lard and brown the other half of the meat in the same way, then remove and set aside with the other meat.

Browned meat.

Add the blended onion to the dutch oven and sauté until softened and slightly translucent, about five minutes. It will probably start drying up, which is fine. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Add the tomato paste and paprika, and sauté for another minute.

Next, add the broths, bay leaf, marjoram and caraway seeds, and stir together until uniform in appearance. Bring to a simmer then add the meat (and its juices), cover, and put in the oven.

Bake for one hour and ten minutes. During this time you can prep your potatoes and peppers.

Stir in the peppers and potatoes, re-cover the dutch oven and bake for another 30 minutes.

That’s it! Let the soup rest for a few minutes before serving, so the potatoes will thicken the soup into borderline “stew” territory. Some people like to stir in a bit of sour cream at the end, and I think that’s a fine idea if you’re up for it, but not totally necessary.

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31 Responses to “Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás)”

  1. Amelia October 2, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    This looks delicious and also makes me miss my crockpot a little less. I love using the oven this way and I like how you waited to put the peppers and potatoes so they don’t get mushy. I will try this soon!

    • Russ Crandall ( October 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      Thanks Amelia! I’m a big fan of using my dutch oven instead of a crockpot. The heat distribution is so good, everything always cooked very evenly.

  2. Villy October 2, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    What a delicious dish!

  3. Dinis Correia October 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    I voted for the swedish dish – but hey, nor hard feelings :)
    Still no dutch oven in my kitchen (those things are pricey), so I’ll probably try dish one on the slow cooker.

    • Jan Weinzetl October 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

      You don’t need a pricy dutch oven, use a roaster. Any kind will do, though the thinner the metal the less time you need to bake this, and use a lower oven setting. I have never owned a expensive dutch oven and I have been cooking for many, many years. I have always used a aluminum soup pot. Just make sure the handle on the pan can be in a oven, if not then use aluminum foil ( heavy duty type is the best) Any oven ready pan or glass wear will work to bake things in a oven.

      • Russ Crandall ( October 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        Jan, I agree that any dish can theoretically be used for roasting, but the heavy weight of a dutch oven helps to distribute heat and its heavy lid helps to pressurize and keep the dish from drying out. But you don’t need to go headfirst into a pricey dutch oven; there are definitely cheaper options out there that do the trick, like this $30 cast iron dutch oven:

        • Dinis Correia October 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

          That’s much more affordable indeed. Anyway, then there’s my oven – my old, thermostat-less, gas oven. With the slow cooker at least I know what to count on :)

  4. vanbraman October 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Yum, a cup of goodness. I am just home from work and thinking of what to have for dinner. I am now rethinking my choices after seeing this post.

    • Russ Crandall ( October 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      Sorry to hear I threw a wrench into your plans! :)

      • vanbraman October 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

        No worries, it was a good wrench to throw in the works. Unfortunately didn’t have all the ingredients or time to make goulash, but had some meat, potatoes and onions :-).

  5. chowstalker (@Chowstalker) October 3, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Growing up we inappropriately referred to any one-dish meal that was made from whatever veggies and meat we had on hand as “goulash”, But this looks way better. :-)

    • Russ Crandall ( October 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Patty, from my research, I wouldn’t say your family was alone at all; it’s a remnant of the early part of the 20th century in the US – along with “hodgepodge” and “chop suey”:

      “During the great Depression, the names of foreign mixed dishes, such as goulash, hodgepodge (perhaps from hachepot), or chop suey, were applied to quick assortments of meat, vegetables, and potatoes, and sometimes even to desserts with mixed ingredients.”
      —Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 36)

  6. culinarydaze October 3, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    Reblogged this on culinarydaze and commented:
    I don’t really want to get into posting recipes, but I LOVE this blog and want to share it with others.

  7. bumbleberry breeze October 4, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    Hi Russ- did you read my mind? Thanks for this post- have had goulash on my mind now that we’re in Oct. My parents are Romanian and I remember her adding a carrot or 2 to a very similar dish- keep these great recipes & research comin’…Judy

  8. Alex October 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    I think I need to get a Dutch Oven! It looks like a really useful item to have in the kitchen! Are there different sizes? Any recommendations? : )

    • Russ Crandall ( October 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      The easy answer is to go with Le Creuset, since they’re the most well-known brand of high-end dutch/french ovens, but it’s also the right answer – there’s a reason they’re so well-known! They come in different sizes, 3.5qt or 5qt being the most popular (we have a 5qt):

      The Le Creuset dutch ovens can be baked at up to 500 degrees, and they have a lifetime/100-year warranty – I’ve read lots of reports of people calling the company when they get the slightest little hole in the enamel and getting a brand new replacement. They are definitely not cheap, and it took me years to get the nerve to buy one, but I’ve been completely happy with the 3+ years we’ve had ours. Man, I sound like a salesman!

  9. frugalcountry October 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    This looks realy god. I’m going to have to try it.

  10. TraySeeLynne October 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    This looks delicious, and sounds so easy, just wondering if anyone has used sweet potatoes in place of the white potatoes?

    • Russ Crandall ( October 8, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      It might be better if you avoid sweet potatoes in a soup/stew like this – they’ll likely fall apart once they’re cooked through. It’s not impossible, you’d just have to time it perfectly (maybe 20 mins altogether in the soup?). It might be a better option to omit the potatoes altogether and cook some sweet potatoes separately – they could even bake in the oven as you’re cooking the dish!

      • TraySeeLynne October 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

        Thank you, this would be a yummy topping on a sweet potato.

  11. Primal Smoke October 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    The “goulash” I remember from growing up was a combo of elbow macaroni, spaghetti sauce, and ground beef. Pretty much home-made hamburger helper. It has scarred me for life and terrified me from even exploring the dish in my own kitchen. Lol. Yours looks fantastic though!!!

    • Russ Crandall ( October 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Unfortunately, that’s how many Americans still view Goulash…hopefully my little post will help set the record straight :)

      • Primal Smoke October 10, 2012 at 8:01 am #

        It did! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Kelly Buskirk November 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

    How many servings would you say is in this recipe?

  13. Kerry November 9, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Do you think Hungarian paprika paste would work in this recipe as a substitute for the dry paprika? I live overseas and that’s the closest thing I can find.

    • Russ Crandall November 9, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Kerry, it should be fine, although you’d probably want to do some research to see how much paste you’d want to use to replace dried paprika.

  14. Cathy D December 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    So excited to see your recipe for Paprikash and Goulash! I grew up eating these as staples and I passed them on to my kids. So far, only one daughter makes them, but that’s ok. They love to have it when they come home. My ancestry is German but my kids’ dad is German/Hungarian and I learned how to make the best paprikash from my mother-in-law, who lives in Heaven now. One time I was making chicken paprikash and accidentally used a cayenne powder instead of paprika and have not been able to live it Anyway, my daughter just asked me this morning if she was allowed to eat the goulash if she cooked it with potatoes (we are in the beginning stages of a LCHF/Keto diet). Sadly, we LOVE potatoes but aren’t able to eat them due to the carbs. We may have to save potatoes for special days. Just wanted to say hallo and I’m looking forward to browsing your site further.

    • Russ Crandall December 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      Hi Cathy, thanks for sharing! Hope you enjoyed your visit :)


  1. Recipe: Hungarian Goulash | Lava Lake - November 2, 2012

    […] soon as we saw an amazing looking recipe for Hungarian Goulash pop up at our blog friend Domestic Man, we knew we needed to try it […]

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