As of this moment, I’ve never visited Hungary but I’ve heard great things. However, while I traveled through Northern Romania, I did have the opportunity to enjoy some delicious Hungarian goulash. I wasn’t sure what to expect but, let me tell you, goulash is quite tasty. It was a really cold day as we traversed the Carpathian Mountains and entered the Transylvania region of Romania.
That day was filled with sunshine and quite a few dark and ominous clouds giving the feeling we were definitely entering the fictional abode of Count Dracula. There was a definite chill in the air and something warm for lunch was needed.
As we entered Transylvania, we stopped at a hotel restaurant where they served us goulash. This stew filled with meat and vegetables is the perfect meal for those cold, dark days when you need something to warm you up inside and stick to your ribs. The flavor of Hungarian goulash comes from paprika which is a spice made from dried , ground sweet peppers. It adds a nice warm overtone to the entire dish and the flavor can range from sweet, to mild, to spicy.
You can serve goulash over egg noodles to make it a more hearty meal or you can eat as a stew on it’s own. In Eastern Europe, pickled cucumbers and other pickled vegetables are often served as an accompaniment but this isn’t necessary. A thick, crusty bread is also great for lapping up the sauce!
Hungarian Goulash Recipe
Time: 2 hr 15 mins
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of Hungarian sweet paprika (or any paprika will do)
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of caraway seed, fennel seed, or anise
3 lbs of beef stew meat cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (boneless beef chuck, tip, round roast)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 cup of beef broth
1/4 cup of cold water
2 tablespoons of flour
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions until soft, stirring frequently (about 5 mins). Add garlic halfway through cook time. Remove onions and garlic. Set aside.
In the meantime, combine the paprika, salt, black pepper, caraway seeds (or fennel/anise) in a bowl. Coat the beef cubes in the spice mixture. Cook the coated meat in the onion pot until it’s brown on all sides. This should take approximately 15 minutes or so. You should stir occasionally.
Return the onions and garlic mixture to the pot. Pour in tomatoes, tomato paste, and beef broth stirring to combine. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover, simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Stir occasionally until beef is tender.
Combine the flour and water and mix until full combined. You can do this by placing both ingredients in a tightly covered container and shaking vigorously. Gradually stir this mixture into beef mixture. Heat to boiling and stir constantly. Continue to stir constantly for approximately 1 minute. Lower the heat to simmering.
Serve by itself with bread and pickled vegetables or serve over egg noodles.
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