A ‘traditional’ Hungarian goulash or Gulyásleves is not the thick stew most people think it is but a glorious and simple Hungarian sweet paprika rich soup… Yes, a true Goulash is a soup!
Classic Hungarian Goulash or Gulyásleves.
I have been wondering what recipe to write up as the first on my new blog. Of course, I settled on something from the land I now call home a real Hungarian classic.
I am certainly no stickler for authenticity as I am sure we will establish as time goes on. But this recipe is definitely erring towards both authentic and traditional.
Just the same as many people, I thought a Goulash was a stew heavy in Paprika. Then I went and moved to Hungary.
I have been here since 2008, eaten dozens of variants of this dish and every one of them has been a soup!
A good gulyás is indeed heady with sweet paprika but other than that it is a simple affair of potatoes, peppers, onions and meat, traditionally beef.
How Do You Make Traditional Gulyás?
Traditionally any goulash recipe would have started with a fire and a big pot called a bogrács. Very similar to the mini one that this recipe is served in.
Then it is simply a case of adding stuff to the pot and allowing it to slowly cook.
Now the order in which things are added to the pot is hotly debated and on some occasions physically fought over.
My recipe is bodged together from a number of sources.
Principally from an old cookbook written by Hungarian Food Royalty, one of the Gundel clan. I have twisted and tweaked based on many great gulyás I have eaten since I have been here.
I then tweaked a little more to feed just 4 rather than 20 and then some more to cook on stove rather than an open fire!
The Paprika Choice.
Hungarian food is very much defined by paprika.
It goes in everything from sausages to porkolt and will be found in breakfast lunch and dinner dishes!
It is also the defining flavour in paprikash, or paprikás another classic Magyar recipe. I should say series of recipes because just as with goulash there are many variants on paprikash.
Not all paprika is made equal and Hungarian paprika is never traditionally smoked. It varies from sweet to spicy and is typically much bolder in flavour than Spanish paprika.
I get mine from the local market rather than the store. But if you do find Hungarian paprika in the stores csípős denotes spicy édes denotes sweet. For this recipe you want sweet.
Most importantly for any Hungarian recipe take what you consider to be an appropriate amount of paprika… Then add the same again and then a little bit more for luck!
- 250 g Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 10 g Lard, Feel free to substitute with what you have available I use lard as I am cooking pork and have access to the most wonderful unrendered lard
- 1 Tsp Caraway Seeds
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 500 g Beef Shin
- 5 Tbsp Sweet Hungarian Paprika
- 150 g Carrot
- 150 g Parsley root or Parsnip
- 300 g Floury Potato
- 1 Green Pepper or 1 Hungarian TV pepper if you can get one.
- 200 g Tomato, Cut into 8 wedges and deseeded
- 1 L Water
- 100 g Soup Pasta *See Note*
- Finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Remove any sinew and cut the beef into a 2cm dice.
- Cook the onions in the lard until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic and caraway seeds and cook for a minute.
- Add the beef and cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat add the salt then stir.
- Then sprinkle the paprika on top of the meat, onion and garlic mix, ensure that the pan is small enough to ensure that the base is completely covered.
- The paprika should sit on top of the mix and not on the base of the pan so that it can almost steam in the juices from the previous items.
- Add a lid and cook for 30-40 minutes on the lowest heat possible. You could do this on a slow cooker for a few hours if you wanted.
- Peel and cut the root vegetables into a 2cm dice and cut the tomato into wedges.
- Add the carrot, potato, parsley root, pepper, and tomato and stir in with the paprika which should now be quite wet with the water.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the potato is nearly cooked.
- Check the liquid for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required and also add the pasta, cook until the pasta is cooked.
* Almost all Hungarian stores are littered with a variety of great quality bit of pasta usually about 5-10mm long and are the lifeblood of many a soup here. If you have nothing available find some good quality linguini, spaghetti or macaroni and break it into 5-10mm pieces*
Serve with Hot Wax Pepper cut into slices 3-5mm slices on the diagonal, if there is a substitute for this I have no idea what it is. They are delightfully spicy without being rip your face off hot but also substantial enough to add a fresh crunch to the soup.
You could go for some crushed red chilli flakes which I quite often add alongside the pepper.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1126 Total Fat: 45g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 23g Cholesterol: 166mg Sodium: 1355mg Carbohydrates: 117g Fiber: 15g Sugar: 18g Protein: 67g