Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Around the World: Hungarian Goulash

These guys can do it ...

Why the heck can't WE? Afterall, we're a pretty smart bunch.  One of us has letters behind his name. One of us knows Latin. Another gets straight A's and another reads all the time.  Oh, yeah, and then there's me.

But we're still mucking up this Cook Your Way Through the World from A to Z thing.  We were A-Okay with A (Afghanistan), blasted through B (Belgium), choked down C (Croatia - ugh!), dared to try D (Denmark -- oy!), and then it started unraveling!

We spent days making E (Ethiopian) food, but still haven't blogged it.

F - We managed to post the French recipe, but only because Olivia gave up reign of the kitchen to Andrew.

And G? We made G (Ghana) last week but haven't even downloaded the photos from the camera!

Okay - self-flagellation over. We're getting back on track tonight with Hungarian Goulash.  (I promise, no goofy Hungry for Hungary jokes. Okay, well maybe just that one.)

When I was growing up my Mom (this is us in the north Georgia mountains) ...

made Hungarian Goulash with ground beef, potatoes, water and pepper. It was a comfort food for me, right behind Beef Stroganoff.

But in searching for a Goulash recipe to make tonight, Olivia and I discovered there's a LOT of debate over what's "authentic". Apparently, "authentic" requires paprika and tomatoes and doesn't necessarily require potatoes. Who knew?

So, here's the recipe we settled on, from a webpage that has lots of info on the history of Hungarian Goulash and its many variations.


  • 1.5 pounds beef (any tender part), cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced (Not sure what a parsnip is?!? It looks like a carrot, only white)
  • 1-2 celery leaves (Wasn't quite sure what this meant, so we skipped it)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped -- or 1 tbsp. tomato paste (** Olivia's tips for peeling a tomato)
  • 2 green peppers (We used 1, since most of us don't like green peppers)
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian paprika powder
  • 1 tsp ground caraway seed (We started cooking and realized all we had was whole seeds. So we used 'em.)
  • 1 bayleaf
  • ground black pepper and salt, according to taste
  • water


1. Heat oil in skillet; add chopped onions and cook until they get a nice golden brown color.

2. Sprinkle the braised onions with paprika while strirring them to prevent the paprika from burning.

3. Add the beef cubes and sauté until browned. Add garlic, caraway, ground black pepper, salt and bayleaf. Pour in enough water to cover the contents of the pan. Let it simmer on low heat for a while.

4. When the meat is half-cooked (about 90 minutes) add the diced carrots and parsnips, the celery leaf, potatoes and more salt and pepper if necessary. You may also need to add water (2-3 cups) to cover the veggies.

5. When the veggies and the meat are almost done add the tomato cubes and the sliced green peppers. Let it cook on low heat for another few minutes.

Plate and Enjoy!


Chef Olivia - It was harder to make than I thought. The carrots and parsnips are hard to cut. But the food was good.

Jason - It's soupier than I think Goulash is supposed to be. Maybe she added too much water? Still, I'll take another helping.

Hannah - Is there more meat?

Tanya - It was good, but Mom's goulash still holds that special place in my heart (and stomach).


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