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Goulash Recipe

A Hungarian-style casserole made with beef flavoured with paprika.

The dish, as we know it would be unrecognisable in Hungary - as the name means 'cowboy'.

A dish of this type would be called 'Pirkilt' if it had no soured cream, and 'Paprikas' if some had been added. Paprika, itself, didn't arrive in Hungary until about 1820, when it started to be preferred to more traditional flavourings - such as black pepper and ginger. Here is an excellent recipe for what we in Britain know as goulash.

Ingredients

For 4 generous helpings:

2 lbs/1.8 kilos stewing Beef/Shoulder of Veal or Chicken - if using beef, try to find shin, as it will give the sauce a marvellous texture. If using veal or chicken, cut the cooking time by half. Chicken thighs work very well. Veal will have to be diced in the same way as beef.

2 tablespoons (30gr) Plain Flour

freshly-ground Black Pepper to taste

3 medium or 2 big Onions, peeled and chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped

4 rounded teaspoons (20ml) of Paprika

2/3 tablespoons (30ml) Vegetable Oil or 1-2oz/30-60gr Butter

2 pints/1.8 litres Water or Stock made from 1 cube

1 Bay Leaf

1 tablespoon (15ml) Tomato Purée

6 fl. oz/ Soured Cream or Double Cream made sour with a squeeze of lemon

Salt to taste

Equipment needed: an oven-proof casserole with a close-fitting lid.

Method

If using beef or veal dice it into large cubes, if chicken thighs, leave them whole, removing the skin if you prefer.
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Mix the flour with a few grinds of pepper and toss it together, so the meat cubes or chicken are well coated - shake of any excess.
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Heat a large frying pan over a low heat and add the oil/butter. Sweat the onions in this until translucent but not brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further minute.
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Remove this mixture to the casserole, leaving as much oil/butter in the pan as possible.
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Increase the heat to medium and fry/seal the meat/chicken until it's brown on all side - you might have to do this in batches. As they become brown, tansfer them to the casserole with the onion mixture.
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Sprinkle over the paprika and mix well in.
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Add the water/stock, tomato purée and bay leaf.
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Cook, covered, as slowly as possible on the top of the stove or in a low oven for 2 hours for beef, 1½ hours for veal or 1 hour for chicken thighs.
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Remove from the cooker/oven and just before serving swirl in a little soured cream into each helping.

Serve with tagliatelle-type noodles, a type of pasta that will hold some of the sauce - or mashed potato.

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