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- 1 kg beef, cut into 3x3 cm cubes
- 50 ml olive oil or 30 g lard
- 4 x medium onions, chopped
- 1 x leek, white part, finely sliced
- 2 x chillies, seeded and sliced
- 3 x garlic cloves chopped
- 1/4 tspn caraway seeds
- 1 Tbls sweet paprika
- 1/2 Tbls hot paprika
- 1/2 tspn chilli flakes
- 1/4 tspn dried thyme
- 1 x bay leaf
- 200 g diced tomato
- 1 Tbls salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 2-3 sprigs parsley, to decorate
Goulash is a traditional Hungarian dish with hundreds of variations. It is neither a soup nor a stew but it has a fine and thick consistency, just a bit thinner than a sauce.
My Hungarian friends have their own way of making this famous dish, by adding different aromatic herbs, parts of meat and amount of paprika. I have adopted a bit of everyone’s secret but now I am going to reveal my special ingredient that gives an unique flavour to goulash.
In the distant past this was a dish that breeders of livestock used to cook outside in a copper or cast-iron kettle, attached to a tripod and hung above fire. They would place ingredients into a pot, set medium fire up and would go to check livestock. Noticed this last sentence? They would leave goulash unattended! It means we don’t have to stand around the stove and stir it often while it cooks.
It takes approximately 2 – 2 1/2 hours to cook goulash but most of that time we are free to do something else. It can be cooked a day or two in advance, placed in fridge and heated per need.
1. Heat lard or olive oil in a large flame proof casserole dish and fry together onions and leeks, on medium fire until it gets golden colour, about 10 minutes. Stir it regularly and add only a pinch of salt and pepper.
2. Add garlic and chilli peppers and fry until aroma relives, for about 1 minute.
3. Add all herbs and spices (as their aroma better dissolves in oil/fat) and keep stirring for 20-30 seconds.
4. Add meat and stir occasionally until meat is brown all over (no need to toss meat into flour and fry before mixing with onions and spices).
5. Add diced tomato or paste and stir all together. Cook for few minutes before adding water.
6. Pour cold water (or beef stock) to exceed the meat level for about 5 cm. This is the only time when adding liquid into dish so it has to be sufficient for another 1-1 ½ hours of cooking.
7. Wash cuts of beef bone and add into dish, place the lid, adjust medium to low heat, to simmer. Come back in ½ hour just to check and add salt, pepper or some extra herbs. Stir it all once again and let it to cook for a minimum 1-1 1/2 hour. At this point dish can be placed in oven on 165 °C and cooked with lid on for the same amount of time.
8. Discard bones and serve goulash.
8. Serve with mashed potatoes, freshly cooked pasta, polenta and if cooked with potatoes or mushroom serve it only with fresh crusty bread and salad.
• Optional to add to dish : 250 gr mushrooms (15 minutes before finishing cooking) or 600 gr potatoes cut in cubes (20-25 minutes before finishing dish). If adding these ingredients add more water or stock.
• SECRET INGREDIENT: few cuts of beef bones 10-15 cm long, with exposed bone marrow. This will result in rich and buttery taste of goulash. If bones are not available use beef stock.
• Lard is preferable to use as it gives goulash a distinct flavour.
• Parts of meat to use: shank, shoulder, neck or gravy beef.
• Pork meat can be used as well and will grant excellent taste.
• In case that water or stock needs to be added afterwards, add as much as need but cook it until sauce thicken evenly.
• For a very spicy kick add more hot paprika and chillies.
• Use double amount of ingredients and freeze half of dish for a busy day. At morning, before leaving house place frozen goulash in fridge and heat it at evening for dinner.
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Vesna that meal is very nice presentation and must be delicious.We all love this dish.When I make it I cook dumpling and we have it with or we have this with pasta or rice.Very beautiful.
Thanks Anna, my family love dumplings with goulash too, I plan to upload recipe soon.
Ok Vesna.I will looking forward.
hmm delish goulash…i love dipping the the fresh crusty bread in the juice!
Jasper, as I know you are vegetarian )
Can wait to see more