From book on cooking in the Austrian empire: goulash is a millenia old dish.
It was originally a shepherd's stew, cooked by the nomadic peoples who lived
in Eastern Europe until maybe 1000 AD. Shepherds cooked beef cubes in onions,
and then dried them. They carried them with them when they went out with their
herbs, with dried pasta bits of some sort. They would cook them in a pot of
water until done. Gradually it grew various other ingredients. Pakrika, a
famous Hungarian ingredient, was probably added in the 18th century.
Paprika wasn't added to the recipe for goulash until the 18th-century!
So what makes it a Hungarian goulash (gulyás, pronounced gooi'yash)? This traditional stew of Hungary can be traced back to the Ninth Century Magyar shepherds. Made of chunks of meat and onions, it was cooked slowly until the liquid was boiled off. It would then be dried in the sun. This allowed the meat to be used to prepare a stew by boiling it in water. Delicious!
A PLATE OF HUNGARIAN
HISTORY - GOULASH
The word gulyás originally meant only "herdsman," but over time the dish became gulyáshús (goulash meat) - that is to say, a meat dish which was prepared by herdsmen. Today, gulyás refers both to the herdsmen, and to the soup.
From the Middle Ages until well into the 19th century, the Puszta was the home of massive herds of cattle. They were driven, in their tens of thousands, to Europe's biggest cattle markets in Moravia, Vienna, Nuremberg and Venice. And the herdsmen made sure that there was always one "sickly" creature that had to be slaughtered along the way, the flesh of which provided them with a magnificent gulyáshús.
It was not until the end of the 19th century, during a period of burgeoning national awareness, that goulash moved from the herdsmen's kettles into the cooking pots of the wealthy. The Hungarians felt their cultural identity was threatened by the far-reaching reforms of the Holy Roman emperor and
Hungarian King Joseph II, which were implemented after his mother's death in 1780. As the result, anything national came to have significance for them. It became imperative to protect the Hungarian tongue (German had become the national language), and to remember and pass down the traditional Hungarian dances, and their national costumes. The Hungarians wanted to assert their independence, the national characteristic of the Magyars, everywhere, even in their gastronomy, and so goulash became highly fashionable. The dish that had until then been eaten only by herdsmen using wooden spoons and from a shared kettle, was now served in the manor houses at elegant tables bedecked with porcelain and silver cutlery. And from there it moved on - or perhaps we should say back - to the simple folk outside the Great Plain, where it finally became common property.
A goulash soup can be prepared in a number of different ways, and each one has its own ardent supporters. However, all agree that the cook should be generous with both meat and potatoes. Under no circumstances should flour be used to bind the soup. If the soup, which should actually be quite thick, is a little too thin, one or two tablespoons of tomato paste may be added - although with care, so the soup does not become too tart. Ground paprika, which is always used in generous quantities, will also help to improve the consistency.
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Goulash with gnocchi Goulash is a spicy dish, originally from Hungary, usually made of beef, onions, red peppers, and paprika powder. Its name comes from Hungarian gulyás (pronounced goo-yash), the word for a stockman or herdsman ("gulya" means a herd of animals, usually cows).
Goulash is a popular dish in Hungary and its neighbours in central Europe and the Balkans, and is widely known in other parts of the world. It has traditionally been considered a simple home meal because it requires little attention after the initial preparation and because it uses more affordable cuts of meat. Today, however, it is also often served in restaurants.
Goulash is most often prepared as a stew. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika, and then browned in a pot with oil. Shank, shin or shoulder is used — goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen, which is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Sliced onions, hot red peppers and garlic are added. After the meat is browned, water or stock is added and the stew is left to simmer for several hours to thicken. Some finely diced potatoes may be added to provide starch as they cook, making the stew thicker and smoother. Other herbs and spices may also be added, especially bay leaf, thyme and ground caraway seeds. A small amount of white wine or a very little wine vinegar can also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste.
Some cooking books suggest using flour or cornstarch to thicken the stew, but this produces a starchy texture and a blander taste. Others suggest using generous amounts of tomatoes for colour and taste. A small amount of tomatoes in the stock that is used, or a drop of tomato puree, may improve the taste and texture, but goulash is a paprika-based dish and the taste of tomatoes should not be discernible.
Goulash is generally served with boiled or mashed potatoes, polenta, dumplings, or spatzle, or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.
This "beef stew" version is not usually referred to as gulyás in Hungarian but is rather called marha pörkölt (or "stewed beef"). Gulyás is more often used as the shortened version of gulyásleves as described below.
1 North American Variations
2 Other dishes
3 Other uses
4 External links
North American Variations
In the United States and Canada, various adaptations have made the dish more suitable for local preferences, with the result that American "goulash" often bears little or no resemblance to the Hungarian original.
The amount of peppers and/or paprika is often drastically reduced, even omitted altogether, leaving the dish with a tomato-juice base. Hamburger frequently replaces stew beef in American goulashes, which reduces the cost as well as the cooking time. The meat and onions are then placed in the kettle, the other ingredients are added to them, and the dish might be ready to serve in as little time as 30 to 45 minutes. American goulash is commonly finished by the addition of noodles or pasta (elbow macaroni being particularly popular), which does not so much thicken the product as absorb the juice of the tomatoes. Depending on the amount of noodles or pasta used, American goulash may be a stew, a soup, or a casserole, rather than a true "goulash" such as one finds in Hungarian cuisine. This form of the dish was made popular by its inclusion in popular cookbooks in the twentieth century, e.g., in Betty Crocker's Cookbook.
There are several other dishes with goulash in their name.
Goulash soup (Hungarian gulyásleves) is a soup made with same ingredients, but with more broth. Sometimes sausage slices are added.
Goulash can also be cooked with mutton, to make mutton goulash (Hungarian birkagulyás)
Gypsy goulash, (Croatian and Serbian ciganski gulaš) is augmented with vegetables. Green and red bell peppers and carrots are most commonly used. Sometimes one or more other kinds of meat are added, e.g. pork loin, bacon, or mutton.
In partisan goulash, Slovenian partizanski golaž, favoured by Slovenian partisans during the Second World War, and still regularly served at mass public events, most meat is replaced with quartered potatoes. It's not as thick as goulash, but thicker than goulash soup.
A quite different stew, prepared with pork and sauerkraut is known as Székelygulyás, "Transylvanian goulash" in Hungary, and as "Szegedin goulash" in many of its neighbours.
Ice(d) Gulash or 'Jeges Gulyás' is a special chopped and frozen version of the soup in some parts of Hungary, eaten only on the hottest days of the Summer.
Recipes, history and varieties of goulash, which some people
think is related to djuvec. It isn't except inasmuch as it
is an easy to prepare stew! Very different recipes and ideas.
This is another recipe that has been re-invented by
every new cook that has ever worked in our Café, and
is none the worse for that. The current style has been
modified for home consumption and makes for a good solid
winter warmer. The only Hungarian who worked at Eighth
Day was nonplussed by the suggestion that her countrywomen
spent their time stuffing huge platefuls of this down
themselves, mind you she denied the existence of goulash as
a national dish. Never ones to let the truth stand in the
way of a good story however, this dish is a regular on our
Ingredients - Serves 4
4 Large Potatoes (Sweet Potatoes are nice if you can get them)
1 Large Green Pepper
4 oz Mushrooms
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Large Tin Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Hungarian Paprika (not Spanish paprika, it is not
1 Tablespoon Tomato Pureé
1 Desert spoon Red Grape Juice
1 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil
Good pinch of Salt & Pepper
First of all put on your oven to pre-heat to gas mark 6 to 7
Peel and then finely chop the onion, put the sunflower oil in a
heavy bottomed casserole dish and heat on a medium light adding
the onion when hot. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whilst the onion is cooking peel and crush the garlic and add to
Either blend the tinned tomatoes, with their juice, or chop them as
small as you can. Add to the pan along with the tomato puree, paprika,
juice, salt & pepper.
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth or piece of kitchen towel,
if large cut into mouth size pieces, and add.
Scrub the potatoes, peel if not organic, and chop into large pieces.
Add the potato to the casserole dish, mix well, adding a little
water if it is too thick. It needs to be a fairly runny mixture at
this stage as it will thicken during the cooking. Cover the casserole
and put it in the Pre-heated oven. Cook for about 1 hour until the
potatoes are well done.
If you want to spoil yourself add a glass of red wine instead of the
grape juice. It is possible to extend the cooking time by several
hours if you keep the oven temperature down to gas mark 3 or 4 or 100 °C.
Alternatively if you boil the potatoes separately until done you
can either finish it on top of the stove, or for only 30 minutes in
the oven, or 10 minutes in the microwave on full power.
Goulash di Manzo -- Beef Goulash
Most people associate goulash with Hungary and central Europe.
However, it's also quite popular in the north-eastern Alps,
which were long under Austrian domination (Bolzano, in the northern
half of the Val D'Adige, is ethnically German and was annexed by
Italy at the end of World War I). This recipe is drawn from Anneliese
Kompatscher's La Cucina Delle Dolomiti, and will be delightful with
a steaming polenta.
2 pounds stew beef, cubed
1 1/3 pounds onions, sliced into rings
1/4 cup lard
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 cups hot water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cloves garlic
The zest of a lemon, grated
The juice of a half a lemon
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, at room temperature
Salt & pepper.
Heat the lard in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion
rings. Cook, stirring, until they have browned. Push the onion
rings to the sides of the pot and brown the cubed meat in the
open space in the middle. Mix the meat and the onions together
and continue browning until thoroughly browned.
Stir in the read wine and the vinegar, salt to taste, and simmer
until some of the liquid has evaporated. Dust the stew with the
paprika and add a little of the hot water. Reduce the heat to a
slow simmer and cook stirring every now and then, for an hour and a
half. Add more water only if you must to keep it from drying out.
When the meat is done remove the onions from the pot and blend them
with the herbs, lemon zest and butter. Return the mixture to the pot,
stir in the lemon juice as well, and cook a few minutes more over a
Serve with polenta, and a fairly full-bodied red wine, for example
a Teroldego from nearby Trentino, or a Valpolicella Classico Superiore.
International recipe crosstalk: Potato Goulash
From Cosa Bolle in Pentola, the Newsletter:
With regards to the Tiella recipes I sent out last time, Gary
writes that, according to Paola Gavin, author of Italian Vegetarian
Cooking, "the dish dates to the time of Spanish rule in Southern
Italy and is the forerunner of the Spanish dish paella." It's quite
possible; in discussing national and regional cuisines we often
loose sight of just how fluid borders are, of how short the distances
are (especially in Europe), and of how much people traveled in the
past. In previous issues we've touched on the Genoese influences
one can find in Gibraltarian cuisine, but these sorts of things work
in the other direction too. For example, the city of Trieste is
ethnically Italian, but was under Austro-Hungarian rule until the
end of World War One. The desserts include strudels, krapfen, and
other things that one would justly associate with Vienna, and there
are also Austro-Hungarian main course dishes, for example Goulash.
Maria Stelvio gives several recipes in La Cucina Triestina. Most are
meat-based, but there's also this Potato Goulash, which would be nice
now as a side dish, with a roast perhaps, and in the past would likely
have been a main course too. You'll need:
2 1/4 pounds (1 k) potatoes, peeled and diced
3 ounces (75 g) cured lard or fat
Cumin (she doesn't say how much; about 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon ground,
Sweet paprika (Powdered; again, she doesn't say how much. A tablespoon,
or more to taste.)
10 ounces (250 g) blanched, peeled, seeded and finely chopped ripe plum
tomatoes, drained (or a can of pureed tomatoes)
Simmering broth or water
Mince the lard, and brown it in a large pot, or heat the fat. Brown
the onion, stirring it about to keep it from burning, then add the
cumin and paprika. Cook for a minute or two more, stirring constantly,
then add the potatoes, salt to taste, and cook over a brisk flame,
stirring constantly, for about five minutes. Add enough boiling water
or broth to reach 3/4 of the way up the potatoes, cover, and cook over
a brisk flame, stirring often. When the potatoes are half cooked, stir
in the tomatoes. Serve garnished with the parsley.
3 lbs. beef, pork or veal, diced small
12 potatoes, diced small
2 lg. onions, diced small
1 1/2 tbsp. paprika
Salt and pepper
6 lg. carrots, diced small
In big pot, saute onions until light brown. Add paprika and mix well.
Add meat and saute until lightly brown. Season meat with salt and pepper.
Watch - do not burn. Add carrots and mix. Cover with water and simmer
for 15 minutes. Add potatoes and more salt and pepper if desired. Mix.
Add more to cover. Again simmer 30-45 minutes until potatoes, carrots
and meat are tender.
Goulash with Peppers
1-1/2 lbs stewing beef 2 Tbs lard or vegetable oil 1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed 1 Tbs paprika 2 large green peppers, sliced
1 Tbs caraway seeds, crushed 14 oz can of tomatoes 1/2 tsp marjoram
3 large potatoes, diced 2 Tbs butter 2 Tbs flour
juice of 1 lemon
1 Heat the lard or oil on medium-high in a large pot. When quite hot, put
in the beef and brown all over. Add the chopped onion and the garlic and
fry, stirring occasionally, till almost golden. Sprinkle on the paprika
and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the green peppers and fry for another
couple of minutes. Add the green peppers and fry for another couple of
minutes. Add about 5 cups of water, then mix in the caraway seeds, marjoram,
and the tomatoes. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and let simmer till tender, about
2 Add the potatoes and cook till tender, about 20 minutes.
3 To thicken the sauce, make a roux by melting the butter in a frying pan,
then adding the four and frying for 3 to 4 minutes; stir the roux into the
stew and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and check
the seasonings for salt and pepper.
4 Serve with bread and a green salad.
Lamb Goulash with Tomatoes and Peppers
2 lbs. cubed lamb 2 Tbs. lard or vegetable oil 1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed 1-1/2 Tbs. paprika 28 oz. can tomatoes
2 Tbs. flour 3 large green peppers, cubed 1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1 Trim any fat off the lamb and season with freshly ground black pepper. Heat
the lard or oil in a large pot on medium-high. When quite hot, add the lamb
and brown on all sides.
2 Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Fry for a few minutes, stirring
well. Add the mashed garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the
green pepper and cook for another couple of minutes. Sprinkle on the paprika
and stir well.
3 Add the canned tomatoes and enough water to just cover the meat. Season with
marjoram, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil, partially cover, and cook
till the lamb is tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
4 Mix the flour with a little water, then stir in some of the gravy from the
stew; mix this thickener into the stew and boil for a few more minutes to cook
5 Serve with rice, dumplings, or potatoes and a green salad.
A classic example is Hungary's gulyás, a hearty combination of beef, potatoes,
onions and green peppers, simmered with caraway seeds and paprika. Another H
ungarian stew is tokány, which uses a Mongolian cooking technique that allows
the meat - most often beef or lamb, but sometimes veal, chicken or game -
to cook gently in its own juices rather than in water or other liquid. This
dish is spiced with generous amounts of black pepper; sometimes marjoram or
summer savory are added as well. Another traditional tokány recipe calls for
beef cooked with bacon, garlic, black pepper, bay leaves, mustard, lemon juice,
vinegar and sugar, topped off with a dollop of sour cream.
In Poland, lean cuts of lamb or mutton are tenderized by a long marinade in
a mixture of vinegar, onion, bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns, followed by
slow cooking with onions, carrots, celery and celery root. Juniper berries are
often added to marinades and sauces used on game such as venison, duck, grouse
Served with dumplings, a Czechoslovakian lamb recipe calls for seasoning with
parsley, allspice, black pepper, bay leaves and thyme, with a tangy, vinegar-
laced sauce. The ingredients of a Czech-style lamb goulash include garlic,
caraway seeds, marjoram and paprika. These robust flavorings mellow, but hold
their own, after a long stay in the cooking pot. Other spices suitable for slow
cooking include juniper berries, allspice, black peppercorns, fennel seeds and
On a recent visit to Zlata Praha, New York’s only Czech and Slovakian restaurant
, I was warmly greeted by proprietors Millie and George Suchanek ...Wednesdays
feature tender broiled pork chops with tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Serve the goulash with rice or potatoes. Serves 4
1/4 cup shortening
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 pounds pork or beef, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water
2 tablespoons flour
In a large soup pot (preferably cast-iron), saute onion in shortening. Add
garlic; saute until translucent. Add meat, onion, paprika, caraway seeds, salt,
and pepper. Brown well. Add 1/2 cup of the water; simmer, covered, until meat is
tender, about 1 hour. Sprinkle flour over drippings in the pan; stir until
brown. Add remaining water; simmer 10 to 20 minutes.
1/2 lb ground beef
1 large onion
med ground pepper
can ea tomato, mushroom soup
Mix in 1/2 small pkg egg noodles, cooked.