Goulash is the ultimate Hungarian comfort food. This hearty beef stew is so flavorful thanks to sweet Hungarian paprika, peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, and caraway seeds. It’s a dish that can be enjoyed year round.
Back in November, I visited Budapest, Hungary as part of my Epic European Christmas Markets Trip. I quickly became enamored with Budapest’s food, culture, and people! Being roughly 30% Hungarian, I was drawn into the city and swiftly fell in love with all things Hungary!
While there, I tried a few different versions of Goulash (gulyás) (not to be confused with American Goulash)and each one was slightly different. Some were more of a stew, some were more of a soup, some had very few veggies, and others were loaded with veggies. I’m not going to lie, while in Budapest, I never met a bowl of goulash that I didn’t like!
When I got back home I quickly got to developing my own Goulash recipe because, unfortunately, I never knew my Hungarian great grandmother and my mom didn’t have any of her recipes to pass down to me. I have been working on this recipe for quite some time, and today I’m finally ready to share it with you!
Traditional Hungarian Goulash recipes use tomatoes that are cooked and simmered for hours. For my recipe, I wanted to get the same great tomato flavor that a long simmer provides, but in a fraction of the time. That’s why I opted for using tomato paste! I get robust, tomato flavor without spending all day at the stove!
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What spices do you put in Goulash?
Sweet Hungarian paprika is the star spice of this dish. Additionally, salt, pepper, and crushed caraway seeds are also used to season the soup. Don’t worry if you haven’t made a trip to Hungary lately to stock up on Sweet Hungarian Paprika, Amazon has a very good Hungarian brand available.
How do you make Hungarian Goulash?
You make goulash by sautéing the meat and aromatic vegetables together and then simmering it in a tomato broth mixture until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened and the meat and veggies are nicely tender.
Is Goulash a Hungarian Food?
Gulyás originates from medieval Hungary. Herdsmen would cook it out in the fields in a cast iron kettle that was hung over an open fire. It eventually made its way into the large cities of Hungary, households, and finally restaurants. The dish has been passed down from generation to generation and is still very popular in Hungary and throughout Central Europe today.
Cook’s Note – Proper Hungarian Goulash Recipe:
- This recipe can be doubled, you’ll just need to make sure you use a large pot. Additionally, you’ll probably have to sear and cook the meat in batches because it won’t all fit in the bottom of the pot at once. Since the volume of the soup will double, it will take longer for it to reach a boil. Outside of those changes, the times noted below should still be the same.
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (I actually think it tastes better the second day!)
- I like to extend leftovers by heating and reducing the broth so it thickens a bit more, I then serve it over a bed of butter egg noodles. Now THAT’S some serious comfort food!
Proper Hungarian Goulash Recipe
- 3 Tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 1 ½ pounds stew meat, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ¼ cup sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced into ½-inch pieces
- 4 ounces tomato paste
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- sour cream
- fresh parsley, minced
- hearty bread
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat melt the butter or drippings. Add the onions and sauté while stirring frequently until they’re translucent and beginning to brown on the edges, about 6-7 minutes. Add in the meat 1 Tablespoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring often, until the meat has a nice sear on the outside and is no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the bell peppers, and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the bell peppers are softened. Add the remaining paprika, tomato paste, and garlic and stir constantly until fragrant and combined, about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the beef broth and stir in the bay leaf and caraway seeds. Bring the mixture to a low boil and then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the carrots and potato, cover, and cook until the vegetable are tender, about 20 more minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf, and season the goulash with salt and pepper to taste and serve with sour cream, minced parsley, and some nice crusty bread.