Hungarian Goulash is a hearty beef stew with tender beef, carrots, potatoes and a savory spiced tomato broth seasoned with Hungarian paprika.
A great everyday meal that tastes amazing and isn’t hard to make. Like my recipes for Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Ultimate Beef Stew and Beef Chili, this is a savory, hearty dish that you can enjoy on rapidly arriving cold fall and winter nights.
HUNGARIAN BEEF GOULASH
Goulash is rich, flavorful and it is so tender that it tastes like you cooked your main course all day in a crock pot (did I mention that it’s an awesome comfort food?).
While it’s not a dish you could make every day of the week, especially if you are crazy busy, goulash is a delicious recipe that makes for some great leftovers for later dinners. The whole family will love this thick stew and, once you’ve prepared it, all you have to do is leave it alone and go about your business until it’s done.
The difference between Hungarian Goulash and American Goulash
Classic Goulash is an American version of Goulash made with ground beef and pasta. A completely different recipe than the Hungarian version, even though they may share the name Goulash. While both are delicious, Hungarian Goulash cooks low and slow like a stew with chunks of beef and potatoes while an American Goulash recipe is more like a meaty saucy pasta.
HOW TO MAKE HUNGARIAN GOULASH
- Cut your beef into 1-inch pieces to keep them bite-sized.
- Pour your oil into a Dutch oven and heat it over medium heat to medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is warm, cook the onions in oil until they are soft.
- Take the onions out once they’re done and put them in a small bowl for later.
- Take your beef cubes and coat them on all sides in the spices.
- Add them to the dutch oven and let them cook until they are brown on all sides.
- Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, beef broth, garlic and the rest of the salt.
- Turn the burner down to low heat and cover the dutch oven.
- Let everything simmer for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
VARIATIONS OF HUNGARIAN BEEF GOULASH
- Noodles: If you are tired of eating Hungarian goulash the same old way but love the flavor, cook up some egg noodles and serve the goulash over the top of them, stroganoff-style.
- Caraway: stir in a dash of caraway seeds to give your goulash a rich, traditional taste.
- Bay leaves: cook the stew with a whole bay leaf, and then remove it before serving. The bay leaf infuses the stew with flavor but isn’t great to bite down on when you aren’t expecting it.
- Green pepper: dice up a green pepper and add it to your stew a little later to give it some crunch.
- Red pepper: if you want some mild spice and a little crunch, sprinkle red pepper flakes on top of the stew when you serve it up.
- Meat cuts: you aren’t limited to chuck roast for your stew. If you have ground beef or stew meat on hand, feel free to use that instead.
ORIGINS OF HUNGARIAN BEEF GOULASH
Goulash is old, but do you know how old? The first mentions of it come from Hungary in the 9th century. “Goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás” which means “herdsman.” In the same way that shepherd’s pie got its name, traditional Hungarian goulash became associated with herdsmen’s dinners and the name just sort of stuck. Hungarian cattlemen would dehydrate the stew and carry it with them so they could just add water and have a quick dinner.
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AROUND THE WORLD
Hungary invented the dish, but it caught on like wildfire and is now popular around the world. Here are some of our favorite varieties, but Wikipedia has a whole page of info on varieties of this delicious dish.
- Austria: Austrians enjoy wiener saftgulasch, or “soft goulash with sausage.” This version of goulash involves serving up stew on rich, dark bread and is also called fiakergulasch, or “coachman’s goulash.”
- The Czech Republic: we definitely have to try this version sometime. “Guláš” is cooked with beer and is almost always served with bread dumplings and, well, more beer. The word for goulash is actually now part of a slang term for being disoriented, which is “mít v tom guláš.” It may be because of the beer.
- Croatia: Croatian goulash is served on polenta or pasta with wild game, like boar or deer, instead of beef. They also use bacon in their stew, which we will never say no to.
- North America: goulash showed up North American cookbooks around 1914, and American goulash is usually made out of ingredients that are much more common in our grocery stores like elbow macaroni and canned tomato sauce. Check out my version of this recipe: Classic American Goulash
WHEN IS IT SAFE TO EAT HUNGARIAN BEEF GOULASH?
Beef is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (71.1 degrees C). Since we are cooking this recipe for such a long time until the meat breaks down and becomes tender you should have no concerns about your beef temperatures being too low.
HOW LONG IS HUNGARIAN BEEF GOULASH GOOD?
- Serve: Don’t leave your stew out for longer than 2 hours.
- Store: Leftovers are good for up to 3 days, just make sure to let them completely cool to room temperature before you put it in the fridge.
- Freeze: Goulash can be frozen in an airtight freezer-safe container for 3 months and should be defrosted the night before reheating.
- 4 pounds chuck roast , cut into 1" inch cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onions , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 medium yukon potatoes , cut into 2" cubes
- 4 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 2" cubes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar , packed
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 cups beef broth
- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Add the salt, pepper and paprika to the chunks of beef, coating them well.
- Add oil to your large dutch oven on medium high heat and brown the beef cubes well on all sides, about 5-6 minutes then remove them from the pan.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, beef broth and the seared beef cubes (along with any juices on the plate), stirring well.
- Cover and put into the oven for,2 hours, or until meat is fork tender.