Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Magyar Gulyás

An authentic gulyás is a beef dish cooked with onions, Hungarian paprika, tomatoes and some green or red pepper. Hungarian goulash is neither a soup or stew, though in Hungary it's considered to be a heavy soup. When properly cooked it has a nice evenly thick consistency that is almost like a sauce. Gulyás was first made by herdsmen. It moved from their tables to those of the nobility in the late 18th century when Hungary moved to assert its national identity and independence from Hapsburg empire. The only trick to making an outstanding goulash is in the preparation of the onions. Think onion slurry - the kind used to make French onion soup - and you, too, will own the secret. I hope you'll try this. It's a wonderful peasant meal.

Magyar Gulyás - Hungarian Goulash

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium to large onions, thinly sliced (about 4 - 5 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1 large carrot, peeled and cubed
1 large red bell pepper, cubed
1 to 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 to 3 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef or chicken stock
2 to 3 pounds of cubed beef stew meat
4 medium-sized boiling potatoes, cubed
Salt and Pepper

1) In a large saute pan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over low heat. Add onions and cook for about 30 minutes, or until onions are translucent but not brown.
2) Turn heat to medium-high. Add beef, in batches, and sear until lightly brown.
3) Add garlic and ground caraway seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
4) Add diced carrot, bell pepper, paprika (both hot and sweet), marjoram, thyme and bay leaf; toss and allow to saute for a minute.
5) Add tomato paste and stock along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
6) Bring contents of pan to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.
7) Add potato cubes to goulash and cook for 30 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf. Transfer to shallow bowls and serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


Susan C said...

I always learn so much from you! This dish sounds divine.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Susan, it really is lovely in a peasant kind of way. I love peasant cooking. I've tried to leave the amounts of paprika variable to account for personal taste. If you're not familiar with Hungarian hot paprika go really easy in it's use first time through the recipe. I hope you'll give it a try. I also must say that having seen your blog you flatter me. You do very nice work yourself :-).

Donna-FFW said...

This sounds wonderful. Just what I like to make because it can probably be frozen? And I bet leftovers are wonderful. I love your info about the dish. So interesting.

Martha said...

This looks great -- especially on this warm and snowy morning.

Maria said...

Again, another recipe I have never heard of. You always come up with the best stuff!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Donna, it can be frozen although that will slightly change the texture of the meat. I try to make all my stews a day or two before I'm planning to serve them. It improves flavor and makes it possible to get rid of accumulated fat.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Maria, it was the neighborhood I grew up in coupled with the places Bob and I lived when we were young. I didn't realize until many years later how fortunate I was to have had exposure to so many different types of food.

Allie said...

Looks fabulous! I love all your background notes about the recipe I always enjoy reading your post!

Kiezie said...

This looks warm and wonderful ~ perfect for the snowy day we are having right now!

Pam said...

Another yummy looking recipe. It looks tasty and comforting.

Cathy said...

A great dish, Mary. The addition of the caraway seeds is essential. I serve this with dumplings or buttered noodles.

Yum, you've made me hungry.

The Blonde Duck said...

This sounds really good! I think Ben would adore it.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I am loving this comfort food.

Anonymous said...

It looks wonderful and hearty. Perfect for the snow you might have received today? Very nice Mary.

Mary Bergfeld said...

No snow, Cathy. We have our own micro-climate here in Eugene. When the folks further north were buried in snow we had one gorgeous virgin snowfall that was gone by midday. We have wet days but snow and really cold temps are rare.

Peter M said...

Mary, you just took me back to Budapest where I had my 1st real Gulyas. It's a soup, contrary to western belief. Good paprika rules here.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Peter, I'm amazed by the number of people who think this dish is a stew. As to the paprika, I agree. Penzy's is a good source for those who can't buy Hungarian paprika (sweet and hot) in their local markets. This is a good recipe.

Zizi said...

thank you for your comment on my blog! I'm so glad you like my photos even if I would love to improve myself!

I'm surprised that I found 2 posts on your blog about Hungary (this gulyas and the mushroom soup). It's great to know that there are people far away from Hungary and they cook Hungarian food. Gulyas soup is really a traditional food and this is what foreigners know about most although we have many other traditional dish as well.

Keep up the good work,


Unknown said...

I have to be honest I did not know that so many people make Hungarian beef gyulyás,with out lard or some type of pork fat from smoked bacon . I made once Hungarian beef stew with olive oil out of necessity and it tasted just horrible...I throw it right-out into the garbage can. I was born and razed in Hungary... and always made beef gulyas with lard...beef chuck just don’t have any pleasant taste on its own. Even famous Hungarian chef like Magyar Elek, calls for smoked bacon or lard for beef gulyas or beef stew in his cook book a fehér asztal örömei...early twenty centery recepies. The way I make it is when I buy home made Hungarian smoked-ham ( füstölt sonka) or smoked-copicola (füstölt tarja) and cook it in water.After the smoked meat is nice and soft I save the water. It has plenty of smoked flavor, salt and pork fat. I sauté finely chopped onions in LOL... in a table spoon of bacon fat., without browning the onions, than add my carrots, and diced potatoes.Then a few minutes latter add the beef cubes, and yeah...more smoked meats...smoked ribs that it.Finally...plenty of Hungarian red paprika, now simmer everything in the pot for a few more minutes. By now I should have plenty of liquid from the meats and veggies, then add fresh ground pepper, fresh hot green Italian long peppers, add red and yellow bell peppers, cup of good dry white wine, bay leaf and then add the water in which I previously cooked the smoked ham. The pot you cook in should be enameled cast iron French or Dutch oven.

Spike said...

It's so nice to see this recipe on your blog. I love magyar gulyas. My mother used to make it a lot and my Oma :-) Your blog is an inspiration for so many people. I love the variety of recipes, turkish, hungarian, chinese, spanish, and many more. I love to read your blog and the photos are fantastic. Thank you for the nice comment on my blog, you made my day.

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