Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hungarian Goulash

I try not to get stuck in a routine when cooking. I do have a roster of favourite recipes that make a pretty regular appearance but I like to be adventuresome and venture into the untried as often as possible. I think it is one of the best parts of life that there never seems to be a lack of new flavours, tastes and combinations to try. Plus, I want to encourage my children to keep an open mind and develop a sense of adventure as well.

So when I bought some stew beef the other day I resolved to do something other than my usual, which is pretty similar to what I do for chicken stew but with red wine, beef stock and rosemary.  I wanted to try something new, with flavours that would be pretty out of the ordinary for my kids. All of which led me to decide on Goulash.

Now, I am am not saying Goulash is hard to make or that it is a complex recipe, because it is the same process as any other stew, it is just something that quite honestly has never graced our dinner table. I was not sure if I would like it and I knew there was a good chance my husband and kids would want nothing to do with it, as they are far less adventuresome than me but I forged ahead anyway.

How did it turn out?  Truth be told I didn't love it.  It was good and hearty and the spaetzle was a nice accompaniment but I found the paprika flavour overpowering.  My husband however, thought it was delicious and my kids, much to my surprise, really liked it too.
So, why am I telling you all this and why am I going to the trouble to give you this recipe if I was not wowed by it?  Well, because you're not going to love everything you make. I think that sometimes the adventure is the thing, even if it does not turn out with the best results. And I do truly believe what Julia Child said: "Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

So here is the recipe, and if you have never made Goulash, I suggest you try it. It might become one of your all time favourites, or you may not love it. That is the risk, that is the adventure and, to me, that is what makes it so much fun.

Hungarian Goulash
I adapted this recipe from one that I found on Allrecipes.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Total Time: approximately 1 3/4 hours
Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound stew beef
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Brown the beef in the olive oil in batches using a large dutch oven sauce pan with a heavy bottom. Make sure all pieces have a been browned nicely on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and saute 2 - 3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Return the beef pieces to the pan. Add the tomato paste and stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to mix in any of the caramelized meat that has stuck to the bottom. Stir to mix all the ingredients and then bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. You can add additional stock if the sauce becomes too thick.
  4. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Serve over hot buttered spaetzle (you can find spaetzle noodles in the dry pasta section of most grocery stores) or over rice. You can also serve with a bit of sour cream. Enjoy.


  1. i like the fact that you posted something you were not entirely happy with..if we are going to extend our culinary repertoires it's inevitable that there will successes and failures and likes and dislikes but it's part of the exciting culinary adventure..and it all adds up to accruing an improved skill base and developing a culinary style that is reflective of our individuality..

  2. I appreciate your comment. I hummed and hawed whether or not to include this recipe but in the end I felt there was value in trying something new and not liking it. I am ALWAYs telling my children you can't say you don't like it until you try it.

  3. Misleading to call it Hungarian Goulash, as it is not. Hungarian Goulash is a soup...

  4. Goulash from my understanding and from a search of recipes and terms can be either. I think in the end it depends on how much you thin out the gravy that it is stewed in, but like most recipes it has many different interpretations.

  5. Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at


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