1) It’s one of Hungary’s national dishes;
And most importantly…
3) That ultra-thick, beefy stew with onions and paprika you love so much? That’s not goulash!
That is pörkölt.
If you take pörkölt and add potatoes and vegetables and thin it out with water or broth, then you have goulash. At least, that’s what the fellow in this video claims. And as a matter of principle, I tend to believe guys who speak Magyar and cook over open fires.
What else do you need to know? Not Goulash, AKA, pörkölt, is incredibly delicious. It’s intensely beefy, richly spiced (but not hot—unless you want), and simple to make. Mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven (and probably totally inauthentic. Parsley potatoes or Spätzle, however, might pass muster with the correctness police.)
In short: make this, and for goodness’ sake, please don’t call it “goulash.”
(Adapted from ifood.tv)
-2 lbs. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-in. cubes (I actually used venison)
-1/2-3/4 c. red wine
-pinch tarragon, optional
-1 sm. onion, finely diced (not too much onion, please, it overwhelms the dish)
-1/2 Hungarian or red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
-1 Tbsp. butter + 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, or the equivalent amount of lard/bacon grease
-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 c. broth (I used vegetable)
-2 (heaping) tsp. good quality sweet Hungarian paprika
-1 tsp. dried marjoram
-1/2 tsp. caraway seed, preferably ground
-8 whole juniper berries, optional
-salt and pepper, to taste (I added a little smoked salt for that “cooked-over-an-open-fire” flavor)
-dash of cayenne pepper or hot Hungarian paprika
1. Put the meat in a bowl, pour over the wine, add the tarragon (if using), and marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and red pepper, season with black pepper, and sweat until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the tomato paste and cook 60 seconds, stirring to prevent burning.
4. Next, add the meat, leaving the marinade behind in the bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the meat begins to color, lower the heat and stir in the paprika. You must stir constantly to avoid burning the paprika (which releases a bitter flavor). To be safe, you can add a splash of broth to the pot when you incorporate the paprika.
5. Add the caraway, garlic, marjoram, hot pepper, and juniper berries and pour in the remaining broth. Cover.
6. Reduce heat to a simmer and braise for at least 1 hr. and up to 3 hrs., depending on the toughness of your meat. Uncover for the last 30 minutes to thicken the sauce. Adjust for salt, pepper, and spiciness, and serve over your favorite starch.