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Authentic Hungarian Goulash- Traditional Recipe

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This Authentic Hungarian goulash is a traditional beef stew cooked with lots of onions, Hungarian paprika, tomatoes and sweet peppers. Very popular in Hungary but also in other parts of Eastern Europe, like Transylvania, this stew can be served with bread, pasta, spaetzle, boiled or roasted potatoes and pickles.

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Authentic Hungarian Goulash Traditional Recipe

This recipe will give you instructions on how to cook this dish in 3 ways: on the stove, in a crock pot and an Instant Pot. You will discover how easy it is to make this recipe using classic or modern methods. 

Hungarian Goulash is one of these awesome recipes that require slow coking, so either stove, crockpot or Instant Pot would work depending on the time you want to spend in the kitchen.

This Hungarian Goulash is a hearty dish that works best for chilly days. It feeds a crowd, it is nutritious and very easy to make.

Also a comforting meal, makes the perfect dinner for your family. And no, contrary to popular belief here in the U.S., goulash is NOT made with ground beef or (heaven forbid) macaroni noodles!

That is called American goulash and has nothing to do with the Hungarian one!

A little bit about the Hungarian Cuisine:

Hungarian cuisine is full of hearty stews, savory goulashes and rich soups that are meals in themselves.

Those used to cook in the American tradition will observe that Hungarian cuisine features more pork dishes than beef of veal. Yes, that might be a shock for many of you, but it is true.

Cows were raised more for dairy products than meat. This is natural in a country where grazing land is limited and raising hogs is popular.

Lard, too, is preferred over other animal or vegetable fats. 

Meats are most frequently braised, rather than broiled or roasted. Soups are almost always thickened with flour or a roux.

What truly defines Hungarian Cuisine is the skillful use of seasoning. Any Hungarian kitchen will contain a wide variety of spices.

Cinnamon, dill, poppy seeds, caraway seeds are frequently used. But the Hungarian national spice is, of course, paprika.

Traditional Hungarian Goulash

About Paprika in the Hungarian Cuisine:

Paprika is what makes Hungarian cooking totally unlike any other cuisine. Paprika adds flavor and color to a wide variety of Hungarian dishes.

Paprika is available in three strengths: sweet, semisweet and hot.  If you are familiar with the Hungarian paprika, you probably already made up your mind about which strength you like best.

If not, try to experiment different types in this goulash, based on your general taste. If you like the dish to be spicier, use a hotter paprika, if you want it milder, then use the sweet paprika instead.

Hungarian cuisine provides great flexibility to the meals. People ate what was available in season, the time of day and what food happened to be on hand.

Furthermore, what was served for dinner one day could be served(the leftovers) as lunch the next.

Another traditional way of serving stews and soups was the use of sour cream.

A lack of refrigeration provided an overabundance of sour cream, therefore the sour cream was worked into any recipe possible, until finally one missed the taste if it was left out.

This Authentic Hungarian goulash should be served with sour cream for more authenticity, but of course, it is optional if you need to skip the dairy.

What kind of meat do you need to make Hungarian Goulash:

Beef shank- which is a cut of beef taken from the lower leg of the animal. This muscle is a is very used and it has a lot of connective tisue.

This connective tissue is broken down through slow cooking over a low heat and results in a moist, tender meat with rich flavour.

Chuck beef- it has a lot of flavor. While not as tender as other cuts of beef and can become rather tough if not cooked properly, this cut is perfect to be stewed, slow-cooked or braised to make it more tender.  

Pork– If you choose to use pork instead, then any kind of pork meat is fine. I personally prefer the shoulder part, because it has more connective tissue, therefore more flavorful.

However, I always look for cheaper parts of pork when I shop, so whatever is on sale and you can afford, go for it. I would stay away from the very lean meat, because it doesn’t have a lot of flavor. 

How to make the traditional Hungarian goulash:

Chop the meat into 1-2 inch pieces. 

In a big pot (like a Dutch oven), add vegetable oil or lard(the traditional way) and heated up on medium heat. Add the meat and brown it all over.

meat cooking

Chop the onions small and add them to the meat together with garlic and peppers.

Onions

Add the paprika, the ground caraway, bay leaves and salt. 

pork peppers onions cooking together for goulash

Add the chopped tomatoes or the tomato sauce and the beef stock or just water.

traditional Hungarian goulash

Cover the pot and let the stew simmer over low heat for 2 hours or until tender, stirring once in a while. Taste for seasoning.

Traditional Hungarian Goulash

Can I make this recipe in the crock pot:

Of course! Follow the same recipe, but start by browning the meat in a pan, sauté the onion, garlic and peppers, then transfer everything in the crock pot, add the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook for 4 hours on “High” or 6 hours on “Low”.

Can I make this recipe using an Instant Pot:

Yes! See the instructions below or follow the instructions on your Instant Pot. For tender and juicy meat, I recommend cooking it about 20 minutes per pound(you have 3 pounds of meat in this recipe) of high pressure (the manual setting), plus 15 minutes of natural release.

Can I freeze the Hungarian goulash:

Yes, you can absolutely freeze it! Use a freezer bag.

Transfer the stew into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also transfer it into a single serving portion and freeze it.

Best to defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Heat in microwave or stovetop for a few minutes and stir occasionally.

How to serve this Authentic Hungarian Goulash:

Serve it with a dollop of sour cream on top, for more authenticity and invite your friends to a bowl of this amazing dish!

As a side dish serve mashed, boiled or roasted potatoes, pasta or just some delicious artisanal bread or baguette to dip into the sauce. 

A glass of your favorite wine would go perfectly with this dish!

Yield: 8 people

Authentic Hungarian Goulash- Traditional Recipe

Traditional Hungarian Goulash1 1

This traditional Hungarian goulash is a beef stew cooked with lots of onions, Hungarian paprika, tomatoes and sweet peppers. Very popular in Hungary but also in other parts of Eastern Europe, this stew can be served with bread, pasta, like spaetzle, boiled or roasted potatoes and pickles. It is a very hearty dish that works best for chilly days.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE ON THE STOVE:

  1. In a large pot, brown the meat in vegetable oil or pork lard over low heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and pepper and saute until translucent. The onions should be cut into very small pieces. This is essential in order to achieve the "stew consistency". Add a small amount of water or broth, if necessary, to keep the vegetables sticking to the pan.
  3. Add the Hungarian paprika, ground caraway, bay leaves and salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes or the tomato sauce. Also add the beef stock or water.
  5. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours or until tender.
  6. Re-taste for seasoning.

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE IN AN INSTANT POT:

  1. Place lard or oil in the Instant Pot and press "Saute" button.
  2. Brown the meat stirring frequently.
  3. Add onions, garlic, peppers and continue stirring until onions are translucent.
  4. Add paprika, ground caraway, bay leaves, salt, tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes and the liquid.
  5. Cancel the "Saute", close the pot and set it on "Stew". (For tender and juicy meat, I recommend cooking it about 20 minutes per pound(you have 3 pounds of meat in this recipe) of high pressure (the manual setting), plus 15 minutes of natural release.

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE IN THE CROCK POT:

Follow the same recipe, but start browning the meat in a pan, sauté the onion, garlic and peppers, then transfer everything in the crock pot, add the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook for 4 hours on “High” or 6 hours on “Low”.

Serve with boiled potatoes, pasta or bread dipped in the sauce.

Optional: Serve it with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 388Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 477mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 24g

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