Beef Goulash! Thick Hungarian Soup, Thin Austrian Stew, or None of the Above?

I’m not sure how authentic this goulash recipe is, since the recipe I use is adapted from one by Austrian chef Wolfgang Puck. Austria is Hungary-adjacent, and I’m pretty sure they were the same country once, but still, the Puckmeister’s version, further modified by me, is closer to a stew called "Pörkölt." Apparently true goulash, or Gulyás, is much more like a soup, and is served with dumplings.

Okay, two things. First, when it comes to a main course, I like stew more than soup. If you want to stay truer to the original, add more liquid. That’s not going to bother me, or Wolfgang. Also, since I operate in a universe ruled by Google, I went with “goulash” since it’s a thousand times more recognizable than pörkölt. When’s the last time you heard someone say they were craving a big bowl of pörkölt?

Of course, none of this helps my American viewers who, thanks to the cafeteria ladies from our childhoods, think “goulash” is a tomato, hamburger, and elbow macaroni casserole. I’m assuming that variation was born when some Hungarian (or Austrian?) immigrant tried to stretch the last few ladles of soup/stew into another full meal.

Anyway, now that we’ve cleared up absolutely nothing, I can talk about this gorgeous dish of food. I adore everything about this dish. The color is stunning, the beef is sticky and succulent, and paprika-based sauce is incredible.

By the way, I’ve heard from my people on YouTube that this is never served on noodles. How do you say, “whatever” in Hungarian? Despite our questionable naming, ingredients, and side dish, this made for a fantastic winter dinner, and I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 large portions of beef goulash:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, seasoned generously with salt and pepper
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 cups chicken broth (1 to deglaze pan, 3 more added to stew)
*Note: real goulash is more like a soup, so if you want yours thinner, just add 2 or 3 extra cups of broth.
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
*Simmer for about 2 hours, or until tender
Garnish with sour cream and fresh marjoram if desired.

Beef Goulash! Thick Hungarian Soup, Thin Austrian Stew, or None of the Above? 9 out of 10 based on 10 ratings. 9 user reviews.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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