Hungarian Goulash

Perfect for a cold and rainy Autumn or Winter’s day! Rich. Complex. Delicious!

Based on a recipe from The Wall Street Journal. A story by Elissa Altman. I also consulted a recipe from The New York Times International Cookbook by Craig Claiborne.

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Active Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 2½ hours Serves: 4 with leftovers

  • 2½ pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 1 large onion, cut into thin half moons
  • 2½ cups beef stock
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut diagonally into 1½-inch lengths
  • 3 cups tomato passata or purée (I used 3 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste.)
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika (I used 2 heaping tablespoons of Hungarian Smoked Paprika.)
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds (I added 7 small potatoes squared.)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme and 1 teaspoon marjoram (via Craig Claiborne)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, toss beef with salt and pepper, and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

2. Once beef is ready, heat oil in a large, lidded heavyweight Dutch oven over medium heat until oil just begins to ripple but not smoke. Add beef and its residual liquid to pot in batches, browning well on all sides and transferring to a clean bowl as you go. Set bowl aside.

3. Add onions to pot, stirring to coat with fat. Cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Pour in half of stock, then use a wooden spoon to scrape up bits of caramelized meat and onion from bottom of pot. Add carrots and celery to pot, stir well, then fold in beef and its juices. Add passata, remaining beef stock and paprika to pot, stirring well.

4. Increase heat, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Add potatoes to pot, stir well, cover and place in oven. Cook, stirring every half hour, until gravy is dense enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1½ hours. If goulash is too thick, add additional beef stock or water by the quarter cup, stirring well.

5. Remove goulash from oven, set lid askew and let rest 15 minutes. Serve goulash in bowls over cooked rice, spaetzle or thick slices of challah. (Since I made the extra potatoes, I didn’t serve it with any of this.)