Hungarian Goulash
Recipe Recipe

You can find as many versions of goulash as there are cooks in the Western world. Meat, onions, paprika and potatoes or noodles are the standards that define the dish. My version tosses in some flavorful veggies and a sprinkle of caraway, too.


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6–8 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 bay leaf
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¾ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds lean stew meat, cut into 1” squares*
6 cups stock**
4 carrots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
1 pound noodles, cooked
*Sprinkle the meat with salt 4-6 hours before cooking—or just as you return from the butcher. This develops a better flavor in the final dish.**The absolutely best stock is homemade beef. Never use canned as it pretty much tasteless and tinny. My next choice is homemade chicken stock or canned, low-sodium. For some reason, they do a much better job with this product.



1. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a spacious, heavy-bottomed pan set over a medium-high heat until it sizzles.

2.Add the bay leaf and let it season the oil.

3,Sauté the onions with ½ teaspoon of salt until soft and translucent. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.

4. Add the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook for 30 seconds.

5. Stir in the paprika and cook for several minutes, adding a small amount of water to prevent burning.

6. Add the tomato paste and cook for several minutes more. Turn off the heat and set aside.

7. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel.

8. In a separate heavy-bottomed pan heat several tablespoons of oil until sizzling.

9. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides. Be careful not to crowd the pan, or the meat will “steam” rather than brown.

10.Stir the meat into the onion-spice mixture. Add the remaining salt and pepper.

11. Pour in stock and bring to lively simmer.

12. Reduce the heat to a medium-low simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the meat is absolutely fork tender.

Note: Don’t rush this step and you’ll be rewarded with a superior dish.

13. Add the carrots, bell peppers and caraway seeds about 20 minutes before the meat is done.

14. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

15. Divide cooked noodles among serving bowls and ladle the goulash over.



Preparation Time: 
2 ½–3 hours