Simon recently returned from a trip to Budapest with our friend Rob.  They had lots of good things to say about the city and Simon raved at length about the goulasch.  Naturally, I wanted to taste it too, so we decided to try our hands it.  Simon had also brought back some Hungarian treats for me to try including some cheese and a bottle of Hungarian pinot noir.

We set out on online to look for an ‘authentic’ goulasch recipe and came upon Chili & Vanilla, a Hungarian food blog, with some excellent tips and a recipe to make goulasch.  We made a few adaptations based on some other recipes.  Sure enough the meat was as tender as can be and the sauce was rich and flavourful. It was the perfect remedy to yet another cold, wet day in Heidelberg.

As Chili & Vanilla says, the real key to this recipe is the onions.  Don’t hold back.  The onions are everything in this recipe.  Also, please make a big pot of this, because you will really want the leftovers (trust, me here, you will NEED the leftovers; it is so damn good).

Hungarian Goulasch (serves four, but double it if you can)

adapted from Chili & Vanilla

  • 1 kg of cubed beef
  • 3-4 big onions, finely chopped (do not hold back here)
  • a few cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 heaping Tbsp. of Hungarian paprika (use good quality and not the hot kind – we used rose paprika)
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 chopped red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup of liquid (we used a mix of good quality beef broth and red wine)
  • boiled potatoes, egg noodles or spatzle to serve with

Heat some oil in a large pot and slowly cook the onions and garlic until they are translucent.  It will be a lot of onions, so I recommend finding a friend to chop them.

Stir in the paprika so the onions are well coated.  It will seem like a lot of paprika, but you need it.  Stir in the meat and make sure they are well coated with onion mix.  Now stir in the caraway, salt and pepper and bell peppers.  Add the liquid until you can just see it creeping to the top of the meat.  You only need it to prevent burning at the bottom of the pot and you can always add more later.  Now it will look like this.

Put the lid on the pot and set it to low heat and let it cook away for an hour and a half.  It is hard to wait, but we amused ourselves playing Bananograms, my favourite game.

For the last 15 minutes of cooking take the lid off and let some of the liquid boil off.  Now it will look like this.  Are you hungry yet?

Prepare your noodles or potatoes and serve with a full-bodied glass of red wine.  Egészségedre!