It´s probably the most famous Hungarian dish out there – goulash. Goulash, a stew or soup, is actually a mishmash of things: meat, potatoes, onion, carrots and other veggies. Seasoned with paprika, Hungary´s favorite spice, goulash is actually a simple meal to make, which of course makes it delicious. We first had goulash in the Czech Republic (with some strawberry dumplings!), but it didn’t compare to the authentic Hungarian meal.
The word goulash is so linked to Hungary that we actually use it to describe the type of Communism in Hungary during the Cold War. ¨Goulash Communism¨ we call it, a mishmash of limited political and economic freedoms under Communist rule.
Politics aside, goulash is a stick to your ribs kind of home-cooked meal. Cooking with our couchsurfing host, we chopped the veggies and meat, added the spices and watched the goulash simmer. It was absolutely delicious, but like all home-cooked recipes, according to our host, it wasn’t as good as her mother’s.
Here´s a traditional goulash recipe, probably better for a cold winter night rather than July, but…. well we´re not holding this post until then!
- 2 lb. beef chuck
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 onions, white or yellow
- 2 Tbsp. lard or shortening
- 2 Tbsp. imported sweet paprika (most important to use real hungarian paprika for ultimate flavor)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Qt. water
- 4 peeled and diced potatoes
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Cut beef into 1 inch squares, add 1/2 tsp. salt. Chop onions and brown in shortening, add beef and paprika. Let beef simmer in its own juice along with salt and paprika for 1 hr. on low heat. Add water, diced potatoes and remaining salt. Cover and simmer until potatoes are done and meat is tender. Prepare egg dumpling batter:
- 1 egg
- 6 Tbsp. flour
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Add flour to unbeaten egg and salt. Mix well. Let stand for 1/2 hour for flour to mellow. Drop by teaspoonful into Goulash. Cover and simmer 5 minutes after dumplings rise to surface.
Photo from Budapest Tourist Guide.com.