(Hungarian beef and pepper stew)
Bográcsgulyás (boh-GRACH goo-YAHSH), or goulash, is one of the classics of Hungarian cuisine. Variations of this basic dish are popular throughout Central Europe.
Bogrács is Hungarian for "kettle", and gulyás was originally the word for "cowboy." Today goulash refers to both the herdsmen and the stew they first cooked in their kettles.
6 to 8 servings
- Lard or oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
- Garlic, minced -- 1 or 2 cloves
- Hungarian paprika -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Beef chuck or roast, cubed -- 2 1/2 pounds
- Water or beef stock -- 1 quart
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Red or green bell peppers, chopped -- 2
- Russet potatoes, peeled and diced -- 2
- Heat the lard or oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high flame. Add the onions and saute until translucent and starting to brown. Add the garlic and saute for 1 or 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in paprika until well blended.
- Add the beef, water or stock, salt and pepper and return the pot to the flame. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 1 to 2 hours. Occasionally skim any excess fat that floats to the surface.
- Add the chopped peppers and potatoes and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve in bowls along with csipetke, mashed potatoes or slices of hearty bread.
- Try to use a fine quality paprika. Its flavor is central to this dish. Gulyás is traditionally somewhat spicy from the use of hot Hungarian paprika. You can use a milder paprika if you like. Or add one or two hot peppers along with the bell peppers for a spicier stew.
- Add 2 teaspoons of ground caraway along with the paprika if you like. Or try adding 2 teaspoons of marjoram with the peppers.
- The potatoes help thicken the goulash. You can eliminate them if you like.
- Add csipetke noodles to the simmering goulash during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking.
- Add 1/4 cup tomato paste to the sauteed onions after stirring in the paprika. Add a little water and simmer 3 or 4 minutes before adding the beef and stock or water. Be careful not to add too much tomato paste, as the flavor of tomatoes should never be allowed to dominate over the peppers and paprika.
- Substitute cubed pork or veal or some sausages for part of the beef.
- Add some chopped carrots, green beans or cabbage to the simmering stew along with the peppers and potatoes if you like.
- Some cooks use flour to thicken their goulash, but this practice is very much frowned upon by true Hungarians.
- Ürügulyás: Substitute lamb or mutton for the beef.
- Gulyásleves (Goulash soup): Add enough extra stock or water give the consistency of a soup and serve as a first course.