Beef Goulash Recipe

Goulash (the real thing)


  •    2 1/4 lbs of beef chuck, cut into 1/2″-3/4″ cubes. Shin, boneless short ribs, other stewing cuts work well, too.
  • Beef ribs/soup bones (optional)
  •  One large (3/4 lb) onion, chopped into fine dice.
  • 1 Italian frying pepper
  • 1 long hot pepper (Optional)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut into thin disks
  • 2-4 medium peeled potatoes cut into 1/2″-3/4″ cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 generous tablespoons paprika
    (remember, use Hungarian sweet paprika if you can. Unsmoked Spanish dulce paprika will work, too, as will the sweet California paprika from Penzey’s or The Spice House)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, whole
  •  salt
  • pepper
  • Parsley to garnish


Fry the onions and peppers in fat. You can use Chicken fat or Lard for flavor but neutral oils are fine, too.

Do not brown the onions. Add a little bit of salt here (about a teaspoon):
When translucent add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, and add your paprika and caraway seeds:

Turn down the heat (be careful not to let the paprika burn), mix it well with the onions, and let cook for about a minute, until the mixture is fragrant. Add beef.

Mix well, get the meat nice and coated in paprika, let cook for a minute or two, and then add your liquid:
Add hot water so meat won’t toughen or warm stock
Add another dose of salt to taste, maybe another teaspoon or two, and a few turns of the grinder of black pepper. You can use some  soup bones here, too, to increase the richness of the broth slightly.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover. When the beef starts softening (anywhere from 1.5 – 3 hours or so. After about an hour into cooking time add the Italian peppers.

Simmer, covered, until vegetables are cooked through. Adjust for salt (you probably will have to add a good bit more), and serve, garnished with parsley and one hot pepper sliced, if you like:

(A couple quick notes and variations: You can also add a ripe, diced tomato in there, or a tablespoon or so of tomato paste. If using, I usually put it in just before I add the water, letting it fry up a little, so the tomato thoroughly cooks and dissolves into the soup. )

In the hot (almost finished soup) you can also add csipetke, “pinched noodles” a simple pasta made from 1/2 cup flour, 1 egg, a few tablespoon of warm water, and a 1/2 tsp. salt. Should be gooey consistency (don’t overstir). Let rest covered for ten minutes.  Grate the mixture in a large holed grater right into the soup.  In five minutes it is cooked.