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Classic Hungarian Goulash is surprisingly easy to make in one skillet.
The Classic Stew
This goulash is probably the first thing anyone thinks about when fancy stew is mentioned.
I was never a stew lover, so this was one meal I’d avoid like the plague. However, authentic goulash was one of the dishes that was prepared in this online cooking course I took and the flavoring intrigued me. The chef was teaching a lesson on spices and their use in various regions of the world. The goulash was one of his entries for northern Europe.
Ingredients That Include A Surprise
I sat up and took notice when the chef included crushed caraway seeds. They are most likely responsible for the great flavor in this goulash. There is no overpowering caraway taste, in fact, you don’t really taste caraway at all. However, it blends in with the other spices and really kicks up the flavor. I think it’s the ingredient that ties this all together.
Another caveat here is to use fresh paprika and a high-quality paprika too. You just can’t use the variety you find at your local dollar store or the standard one on the supermarket shelf. Smoky paprika works best here. Spanish Pimentón dulce (mild) was what the chef used, but he also said the Hungarian variety works equally as well. He also added that if you wanted to introduce a bit of heat, it’s best to use the mild paprika and add a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
His recipe included marjoram, but oregano may be substituted if you don’t have marjoram. Just use a tad less. I also found this made the chef’s way was a bit too tart for my taste so I added about a teaspoon of sugar.
One Pot Meal
This is a complete one-skillet meal since it contains meat, veggies and potatoes.
I guess you can make this in the slow cooker, but since browning the meat and sweating the onions are necessary for the flavor, that’s one step I wouldn’t omit. Neither is adding the paprika to the hot ingredients, because that wakes up it’s flavor. Made on the stovetop, this goulash only takes a little more than an hour. Therefore, I recommend preparing it that way.
- 1 lb stewing beef chuck, shoulder, shank cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbs Hungarian or Spanish smoked paprika see NOTES
- 2 tsp caraway seeds crushed
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 3/4 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 tbs sugar
- 3 branches fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano or marjoram, or 1/2 tsp dried
- 1 bay leaf
- Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium high heat. Add oil and heat until oil shimmers (it should shimmer when you add it if the pan is hot enough)
- Place beef in the hot pan and brown well on all sides.
- Add onion and cook until translucent, then add the garlic, caraway and the paprika. Stir well.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine then stir in the chicken stock. Cover and cook for approximately 45-60 minutes over low heat or until beef is almost tender.
- Add the potatoes, green peppers, sugar, tomatoes and herbs. Cover and cook for 30 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.
- Remove cover, increase heat to medium high and reduce sauce by 25%.
- Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, then top that with the carrot salad (recipe in NOTES)
- Smoked paprika is recommended. The mild variety is preferred. If you want any "heat" to this, add a dash or two of cayenne.
- Carrot Salad: 1 cup cooked baby carrots cut into matchstick pieces, 3 tbs chopped fresh parsely, juice of 1/2 lemon. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Crock Pot--prepare as in original recipe up to deglazing the pan. Then transfer the skillet contents to the crock pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low about 5-6 hours, high about 3-4 hours. Times are my best guess as I didn't prepare this in the slow cooker.
Outside of politics and religion…and then maybe movies and music…no other subject seems to spark more debate and start more arguments than food. Whether chili should have beans or not seems to be the #1 argument, followed closely behind by what is “authentic” goulash.
Call it what you want, just don’t call me late for supper, esp. if you’re serving this dish! I enjoy your blog, have subscribed for quite a while via my reader.
Judith Hanneman says
Thanks so much Mike! I’m taking the chef-instructor of this course’s word that this is authentic. BTW, I really don’t like stew at all, but I really liked this! Two topics you mention we can leave aside because it sparks bad feeling most of the time, but as for food, even when we disagree, we still eat and enjoy. Food=world peace and love. We should concentrate more on food!!!
Have been making the old country stew for many years and glad you set out a recipe without noodles. Original does not have noodles. But you can add a drained can of green beans. Great meal for winter.