Nothing warms the heart and soul on a cold rainy day as comfort food. Goulash is a hearty meat dish that comes from Hungary. At its core, Hungarian goulash is a beef stew that is seasoned with paprika and spices. Shepherds cooked this stew-soup while tending flocks. It's thick and spicy and substantial. Every housewife in Hungary has her own recipe. Here is just one of the interpretations.
To feed 10 people, you will need 2 kg of beef (it can be any other meat but if you are a purist, use only beef!).
1-1,5 kg onions (seems like a lot, you can use less, the onions are there for the sauce instead of flour for thickening)
3 tablespoons of paprika
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp of tomato paste
2 teaspoons of thyme
2 laurel leaves
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar (or even red wine)
6 tbsp of butter, oil or fat
Chop the onions into little cubes, sautee in oil in a large heavy-based saucepan until golden brown, close the lid and let them cook for 20 minutes until onions are nice and soft.
Cut the beef into cubes, fry them and add them to onions. Fry in a separate pan so when you are done with a meat, add paprika immediately, take away from the heat, add vinegar and water to the paprika and add to meat and onions saucepan.
Add tomato paste, thyme, laurel leaf. Add hot water slightly below the level of cooking meat. Add salt and pepper. Mix everything and let it simmer with slightly open top, adding hot water once in a while, and let it cook for 3-4 hours. The onions should become really mushy and create a nice thick sauce. The sauce will become slightyl brown instead of bright red.
You can serve this dish in soup dishes with freshly baked bread.
While cooking, you can improvise by adding wine or beer, mushrooms, sausages and various spices. Goulash is normally served with dumplings (czipetke) or over egg noodles. It is equally good with rice.
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