Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes or more, depending on the cut of beef
This thick, hearty dish was (and still is) very popular among herdsmen in Hungary. Goulash was made in a cast-iron kettle hung above an open fire, out in the puszta.
Herdsman is "gulyás" in Hungarian, hence the name. Herdsmen have the best ingredients at hand (most importantly prime quality beef) and the preparation method is well-suited to their work and lifestyle: without having to stand by the side of the pot and stir all the time, they still end up with a hot, filling and tasty meal.
This peasant dish came to the tables of the nobles and city dwellers only towards the end of the 19th century during the period of flourishing nationalism throughout the country. In the second half of the 1800s it became very important to preserve the heritage of Hungarian culture, language and cuisine as part of the movement to emphasize Hungary’s national identity and independence from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty’s rule.
- Stew the onion in lard over low heat until golden yellow (not brown).
- Remove the pot from the heat, add the paprika, meat, salt and 1 1/5 liters (1 quart, 3 oz) of water.
- Add the caraway seeds and peppercorns in a tea ball or small bag (for easy removal before serving)
- Return to low heat and simmer.
- After 30 minutes, add the carrots, garlic, leaf, parsnips and paprika peppers.
- When the meat is nearly tender (around another 30 minutes), add the potatoes. Continue until done.
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