Maine dish · Photography



Goulash was, and still is, a very popular dish among herdsmen in Hungary. The word gulyás originally meant only “herdsman”, but over time the dish became gulyáshús (goulash meat –  a meat dish which was prepared by herdsmen). Today, gulyás refers both to the herdsmen, and to the soup.

The cooked and flavored meat was dried with the help of the sun and packed into bags produced from sheep’s stomachs, needing only water to make it into a meal. It is one of the national dishes of Hungary and a symbol of the country. They made it in a cast-iron kettle hung above open fire, out in the fields.

Originating from the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, goulash is also a popular meal in Central Europe,Scandinavia  and Southern Europe.

Even in Hungary every other housewife or chef has its own way of cooking it by adding or omitting some of the ingredients, or changing something in the preparation process, however they would all call their gulyás the most authentic.

Authentic gulyás is a beef dish cooked with onions, Hungarian paprika powder, tomatoes and some green pepper.

Potato and noodles (csipetke in Hungarian) are also added according to some recipes.

Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew, it’s somewhere in between. In the restaurants you will find it at soup.

This peasant dish got on the noblemen’s and town folk’s table only towards the end of the 19th century. In the second half of the 1800s it became very important to protect treasures of Hungarian culture, the language and the gastronomical delights, as part of the movement to emphasize Hungary’s national identity and independence from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty’s rule.

Restaurants started to put goulash on their menus too, and by the second half of the 20th century, the soup became the number one dish of Hungary that every tourist coming to the country must try.

My recipe won’t give you the perfect Hungarian goulash, but it will come very close. I was so surprised that I managed to make it so good. I was expecting a complete desaster, as I you all know I am not a good cook.



– 700 g beef shin or shoulder, or any tender part of the beef cut into 2×2 cm cubes

– 5 tablespoons olive oil

– 2 medium onions, chopped

– 5 cloves of garlic

– 1 parsnip, diced

– 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika powder

– 1 glass white wine

– 500 g potatoes

– 1 glass tomato sauce

– 1 tablespoon mustard

– ground black pepper and salt according to taste

– 2 fresh green peppers

– 1 bay leaf


Heat up the oil in a pot and braise the chopped onions with the mustard in it until they get a nice golden brown color. Sprinkle the braised onions with paprika powder while stirring them to prevent the paprika from burning. Add the beef cubes and and sauté them till they turn white and get a bit of brownish color as well.

The meat will probably let out its own juice, let the beef-cubes simmer in it while adding the grated or crushed and chopped garlic (grated garlic has stronger flavor),  some salt and ground black pepper, the bay leaf, pour water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat for a while.

When the meat is half-cooked (approx. in 1,5 hour, but it can take longer depending on the type and quality of the beef) add the white wine, parsnip and the potatoes, and some more salt if necessary (vegetables tend to call for more salt). You’ll probably have to add some more (2-3 cups) water too.

When the vegetables and the meat are almost done add the tomato sauce and the sliced green peppers. Let it cook on low heat for another few minutes. You can remove the lid of the pan if you want the soup to thicken.








135 thoughts on “Goulash

  1. This looks delicious! Never got to try goulash when we were in Hungary, but will definitely try it now!

  2. I really enjoyed this post not only because it’s making my mouth water, but also because I’m about a third Hungarian from my mom’s side… and the family name is Gulyas 😀

  3. I made my first Goulash last year ( I used smoked paprika that time) and served it with some pan fried potato cakes… I would love to try an original version. Great picture btw!

  4. Your recipe refers to ‘mustard’ on the meat, but none is listed in the ingredients. My grandfather was a Bohemian butcher apprenticed to a Hungarian, so I grew up with Goulash. I don’t recall anybody using mustard!

  5. My Mum always makes it quite soup-like and also puts some carrots and potatoes in it. No mustard as far as I know but the beauty in cooking Hungarian dishes is that you can make it as spicy or plain as you like. For “second course” (or rather dessert) she would make homemade doughnuts with (homemade) apricot jam.

  6. My grandfather came to the United States from Hungary, and my grandmother (his wife) never made Goulash the same way twice, so I love that you said everyone changes it to suit their tastes! So glad I found your blog!

  7. I didn’t know where Goulash came from, but thanks to you now I know. My late great grandmother use to make this dish all the time, it was a family fav. Of coarse she added more perks to make it her original, but it was still awesome. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipes. It brings back awesome memories 🙂

  8. This looks so delicious! I will have to try it sometime.

    One little thing I noticed was that you mentioned to use “tender cuts” of beef, while shoulder or shin are actually less tender cuts. Because you’re braising or stewing the less tender meat in water, letting it simmer for a while, it makes the meat more tender. So really you’re asking people to use less tender, less expensive cuts to make a delicious meal, which is a win in my book 🙂

  9. What does Hungarian Paprika taste like? I wanted to buy some but the smallest container of it that I could find was too big and too expensive. I don’t want to spend (over $5.00) for a spice that I might only use once!

      1. I love spicy food. I was just responding to someone’s comment on my blog how when I was younger I couldn’t handle fresh pepper and now I love everything spicy! Thanks for the info!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s