RECIPE – Hungarian Goulash

Let’s be honest – now that we’re in Fall / Winter mode, people are secretly happy they have an excuse to eat those comfort foods that don’t seem appropriate on a hot July day.

Most probably assume their favorite dishes aren’t healthy, and therefore tend to avoid eating and cooking them on a regular basis for fear of falling off their particular eating plan. Depending on the food that might be the case (donuts, lasagna, ice cream) but a lot of the time it isn’t.

Take this recipe for Hungarian Goulash, which is basically a stew flavored with paprika. Sure, it might traditionally be served with potatoes or noodles, but why not with steamed zucchini or sauteed spinach instead?

If something seems unhealthy, take a minute to break down it’s component food groups and ask yourself if it’s really that bad, and if there aren’t things you can substitute in and out to make it a little better.

Pulled pork might not be so great when it’s served on a white bun with fries and sweet BBQ sauce, but on it’s own without the bun, hot sauce instead of BBQ sauce and coleslaw on the side? Not bad at all.

For this Hungarian Goulash recipe I use beef, but it can easily be made with chicken thighs, pork shoulder, lamb, or chickpeas for a vegan version.

Hungarian Goulash

  • 2kg Beef chuck, cut into cubes
  • Mild paprika
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1-2 Bay leaves
  • Caraway seeds
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Sour cream
  • Red peppers, chopped
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Bacon fat (or extra virgin olive oil)

Take your raw beef, put into a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. If you have time, do this the night before cooking as it will help the meat absorb the salt better. If you don’t have that much time, 1-2 hours before cooking is ideal.

Heat a large pot, add a generous amount of bacon fat and then add the beef to the pot. Turn the heat onto high and begin frying the beef for 5 minutes or so, until it begins to brown. Try not to turn the beef too much as you want to develop a nice caramalization.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and stir to combine everything. Cook for a few minutes, then add a spoonful of caraway seeds, bay leaves, a generous amount of mild paprika and smaller spoon of smoked paparika (you add less of this as it can become overwhelmingly smokey).

Add a glass of red wine, stir around, and add a little more water just so the beef is barely submerged. Lower the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours on low heat. You want the meat to begin breaking down and become very tender.

Once cooked, you can remove the lid and allow to simmer for a little longer if you want to thicken the sauce. I like to add the chopped peppers and carrot a few minutes before serving to keep them a little crunchier, but add in earlier if you prefer the vegetables well done. Before you’re ready to serve, add a large dollop of sour cream to the pot and stir around and allow to cook for a minute longer.

Serve with the above mentioned zucchini, spinach, or some other simply cooked vegetable.

If you’re not on a diet, this Goulash goes especially well with gnocchi or spaetzle noodles…

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