A Plate of Hungarian History. Goulash
Goulash is synonymous with Hungary the world over. Originally, this was a peasant meat dish cooked out on the range by Hungarian herdsmen, but in the late 19th century when Hungarian identity began to be threatened by The Holy Roman Empire, it moved to the tables of the wealthy as a way of preserving the Hungarian heritage. Goulash is a braised meat dish, much like an American stew, meaning the meat is cut into small pieces and cooked submerged in liquid. It is an easy one-pot meal to throw together with the large amount of paprika making it a unique version of a typical stew. There are almost as many “authentic” Hungarian Goulash recipes as there are Hungarians and each will be fiercely defended, but all agree that it should contain generous amounts of meat, potatoes and paprika.
Goulash is a cross between a stew and soup-thinner than a typical stew, but thicker than a thin soup. If the goulash needs a little thickening, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, but never use flour or cornstarch to thicken-you might find a Hungarian running after you with a butcher’s knife!
- 1 ¼ lbs. stew meat, but into 1” cubes
- 1 large onion, diced into 1” cubes
- 3 TBL. canola oil
- ½ tsp. caraway seeds
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1.5 TBL. or more Hungarian Paprika (YES, Tablespoons!)
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 root vegetable ( parsnip, celery root, turnip), diced
- 2 large bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1” chunks
- 1 LB. red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
- Sour cream for garnish
Heat the oil in a large pot and sweat the onions until translucent.
Add the caraway and the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the paprika and stir well.
Add the meat and season with salt.
Put the pot back on the heat, add ¼ C. water, cover and cook gently (at a bare simmer) for 15 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients (EXCEPT THE POTATOES) PLUS 5 ½ C. of water.
Cover and cook gently for 20 more minutes.
Add the potatoes and cook gently for another 8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Garnish with sour cream and serve hot.
Goulash is typically served with a hearty bread and a creamy cucumber side dish.