Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian goulash is probably the country’s most famous and popular dish to be prepared outside of Hungary, but no two families cook it exactly the same way. My grandmother has her version, my mother has her own (which always came with spätzle), and I have my own. True, authentic Hungarian goulash is a beef dish somewhere between a soup and a stew, made with paprika (lots of it!), potatoes, and onions. But for my version, spätzle are more work to make than I typically feel like investing, so I’ve taken an easy way out with extra-wide egg noodles, covered in butter and caraway seeds.

Hungarian goulash, topped with sour cream

3 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup Hungarian sweet paprika or Hungarian hot paprika (or a mixture of both)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14 ½-ounce can pure pumpkin
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
Extra-wide egg noodles
Butter and caraway seeds, to taste
  1. Place chuck, paprika, salt, and pepper in large Ziplock bag; seal bag and shake.
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Remove meat from spice mixture, reserving spice mixture for Step 3. Add meat to pot and brown, cooking about 5 minutes.
  3. Place onions and potatoes in bag with spice mixture, and seal, shaking to coat. Add paprika-coated vegetables to pot; cook 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Add broth, pumpkin, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to boil, then reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 1 hour. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, cook extra-wide egg noodles in boiling salted water, stirring occasionally.
  6. Drain noodles; return to pot and toss with butter and caraway seeds.
  7. Top noodles with goulash, and sour cream.

Be advised, too much hot paprika can make this dish flammable, so it’s a good idea to start out with a high sweet-to-hot paprika ratio. Cayenne pepper can be used to punch up the spice later on, if needed.


  1. too much hot paprika can also make it not taste very good. remember the goulash fiasco of '07...

  2. The pumpkin is very unique...
    This looks very delish.

  3. Oh what a great idea with the pumpkin!

  4. So delicious and hearty! Perfectly seasonal!

  5. My grandmother used to use elbow macaroni instead of spätzle! LOL!

  6. Yum! I think it needs more sour cream ;) haha

  7. My dad makes bread dumplings instead of Spatzli. It's delicious.

  8. I love Goulash too!! :)