When you say goulash, your thoughts are flying to Hungary. Let’s show you a traditional Hungarian goulash recipe, as I like to do and how we love it in our family.
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In Hungary, goulash is one of the national dishes, with the Hungarians taking great pride. It is an old, medieval recipe, which can be cooked outdoors in a traditional goulash kettle, called “bogracs”.
There are two variants of goulash; the first is the goulash soup, which I will present here, and a type of goulash stew, which is more constituent and thicker. You can also make it from pork, beef or lamb meat.
But the traditional Hungarian goulash recipe is a soup with beef meat, potatoes and vegetables.
If you are interested, try another delicious potato soup recipe here.
Is the Hungarian Goulash Healthy?
Hungarian goulash can be a nutritious and healthy meal, especially if made with lean beef and plenty of vegetables and served in reasonable portions. However, like many dishes, it can also be high in calories, fat, and sodium if made with high-fat cuts of meat, excess salt, or high-calorie sides.
Here are some of the health benefits and potential drawbacks of Hungarian goulash:
- High in protein: Goulash is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles, maintaining healthy skin and hair, and keeping the immune system strong.
- Contains vegetables: Goulash typically includes a variety of vegetables, including onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Contains paprika: Paprika is a crucial ingredient in Hungarian goulash, and it is a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants that may help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- High in calories: Depending on the recipe and serving size, goulash can be high in calories. This is especially true if it is made with fatty cuts of meat or served with high-calorie sides like noodles or dumplings.
- High in sodium: Many goulash recipes contain a significant amount of salt, which can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems if consumed in excess.
- May contain saturated fat: If made with high-fat cuts of meat or served with sour cream, goulash can be high in saturated fat, increasing the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
To make Hungarian goulash healthier, consider using lean cuts of meat, reducing the amount of salt, and serving it with healthy sides like steamed vegetables or a side salad. By making these simple tweaks, you can enjoy the rich, comforting flavours of goulash while still maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet.
The main ingredient is beef meat, and I used about 600 g of beef shin cut into cubes.
We still need vegetables, and I used about three carrots, two parsley roots, two medium-sized onions, one tomato and one sweet red pepper.
We will need 5-6 medium-sized potatoes, about half a kilogram, and one green pepper.
Let’s Make the “Gulyás”-Authentic Hungarian Goulash
Make a Stew
First, we clean and finely chop the two onions.
Fry the Onions and the Meat
In a soup pot, heat two tablespoons of pork lard (or 100 ml of oil), in which we put the chopped onion to fry.
We roast the onions a little until it becomes translucent, after which we put the meat to fry.
Mix the meat to fry on both sides until it turns colour. Season with two teaspoons of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and caraway powder (or whole seeds).
We also add a tablespoon of sweet paprika powder, a tablespoon of gulyas paste and a teaspoon of sweet pepper paste. They give a Hungarian flavour to the dish.
Mix and add a glass of water, do not burn the paprika powder, and leave it to boil everything over medium heat.
In the meantime, clean and chop the sweet red pepper.
We also proceed with green pepper.
Add the Vegetables
After chopping the peppers, add them to the pot over the meat.
Mix, and let boil for about five minutes. If needed, add a little more water.
Chop the tomato, which we also add to the pot.
We add water to cover everything and boil for about an hour, stirring occasionally. We must be careful not to evaporate all the water; otherwise, it will burn. If necessary, we add more water.
The boiling time depends on the type of meat used, some are made faster, and others require a longer time.
Make a Soup
While the meat is boiling, we can start preparing the other vegetables. We clean and cut into cubes the carrots and parsley roots.
We check, and if the meat is half-boiled, add the carrots and parsley roots. Mix and boil for about 10 minutes.
Add the Potatoes
Also, add the potatoes cut into cubes and season with two teaspoons of sea salt.
Finishing the Goulash Soup
After adding the potatoes, add more water to cover everything well and boil for about 15-20 minutes. Everything must have the consistency of a soup. We only cook until the potatoes are done.
I also added a tablespoon of a vegetable mix for added flavour. Taste, and add more sea salt if necessary because the potatoes will absorb the flavours.
And with this, I finished the traditional Hungarian goulash recipe in my version.
Frequently Ask Questions (F.A.Q.)
What’s the difference between Hungarian goulash and American goulash?
Hungarian and American goulash are different dishes with distinct flavours and preparation methods.
Hungarian goulash, or “gulyás” in Hungarian, is a traditional soup or stew originating in Hungary. It typically contains beef, onions, paprika, tomatoes, and other vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. It is seasoned with various herbs and spices, including caraway seeds and bay leaves, and is often served with sour cream.
On the other hand, American goulash is a pasta dish popular in the United States. It typically consists of macaroni noodles, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, and various spices such as garlic and paprika. Unlike the Hungarian version, American goulash is often baked in the oven and topped with cheese.
What makes goulash goulash?
What makes goulash is its distinctive combination of ingredients and seasoning. Using paprika is especially important, as it gives the dish a deep red colour and a slightly sweet, smoky flavour. Paprika is so integral to goulash that it is sometimes called “Hungarian paprika stew.”
In addition to the ingredients and seasoning, the cooking method also plays a role in making goulash. Traditionally, the dish is prepared in a large, heavy pot or cauldron over an open fire. This slow-cooking method allows the flavours to meld together and the meat to become tender and flavorful.
What is the country of origin for goulash?
The dish known as goulash, also spelt “gulyás” in Hungarian, originated in Hungary. It is a traditional stew or soup that has been a staple of Hungarian cuisine for centuries. The word “goulash” actually comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás,” which means “herdsman” or “cowboy.”
Goulash was originally a meal for Hungarian herders who tended to cattle and sheep on the great plains of Hungary. The dish was made with readily available and easy-to-transport ingredients, such as beef, onions, paprika, and potatoes.
What is the best cut of meat for goulash?
The best cut of meat for Hungarian goulash is typically a tough, flavorful cut such as beef chuck or round. These cuts are well-marbled with fat and connective tissue, which makes them ideal for slow-cooking methods like braising or stewing. When cooked low and slow, these tough cuts become tender and flavorful, releasing their juices into the dish to create a rich, delicious sauce.
Serving the Goulash
Hungarian goulash can be served in various ways, depending on personal preference and regional traditions. Here are some common ways to serve Hungarian goulash:
- In a bowl as a soup: In Hungary, goulash is often served as a soup, with a side of bread or a pastry. The broth is rich and flavorful, with tender beef and vegetable chunks.
- With a side of noodles or dumplings: Goulash can also be served over egg noodles or potato dumplings, which are great for soaking up the delicious sauce.
- With a dollop of sour cream: In Hungary, goulash is often served with a bit of sour cream, adding a tangy flavour and texture to the dish.
- With a side of pickles: Pickles or other pickled vegetables, such as cucumber or cabbage, can be served alongside goulash to add a tangy, crunchy contrast to the rich, meaty flavours.
You can find on our blog other delicious recipes for soups, such as:
- White Bean Soup With Smoked Ribs
- Romaine Lettuce Soup
- Greek Lemon Soup Recipe
- Pork Meatballs Vegetable Soup
- Tripe Soup Recipe
- Semolina Dumplings Soup
- Creamy Chicken Soup With Vegetables
- Best Mushrooms Soup Recipe
- Best Healthy Cauliflower Soup Recipe
- Hungarian Green Bean Soup Recipe
- Best Green Pea Soup Recipe
- Creamy Kohlrabi Soup Recipe
Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe
- 1 Soup Pot
- 600 g beef shin cut in cubes
- 3 pieces carrots
- 2 pieces parsley roots
- 2 pieces onions medium-size
- 1 piece red sweet pepper
- 1 piece green sweet pepper
- 1 piece tomato
- 500 g potatoes
- 2 tbsp pork lard or 100 ml vegetable oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 2 tsp caraway powder or caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika powder
- 1 tbsp gulyas paste
- 1 tsp sweet paprika paste
- 1 tbsp vegetable mix
- First, we clean and finely chop the two onions. In a soup pot, heat two tablespoons of pork lard (or 100 ml of oil), in which we put the chopped onion to fry. We roast a little the onions, until it becomes translucent, after which we put the meat to fry. Mix the meat to fry on both sides, until it turns colour.
- Season with two teaspoons of sea salt, one teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and two teaspoons of caraway powder (or whole seeds). We also add a tablespoon of sweet paprika powder, a tablespoon of gulyas paste and a teaspoon of sweet pepper paste. Mix and add a glass of water, do not burn the paprika powder, and leave to boil everything over medium heat.
- Clean and chop the sweet red pepper and also proceed with green pepper. Add them in the pot over the meat. Mix, and let boil for about five minutes. If needed, add a little more water. Chop the tomato, which we also add in the pot. Add water to cover everything and let boil for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Clean and cut into cubes the carrots and parsley roots. check, and if the meat is half boiled, add the carrots and parsley roots. Mix and boil for about 10 minutes. Also, add the potatoes cut into cubes and season with two teaspoons of sea salt.
- After adding the potatoes, add more water to cover everything well and boil about 15-20 minutes. I also added a tablespoon of vegetable mix, for added flavour. Taste, and if necessary add more sea salt.