Viennese Goulash

Viennese Goulash

In Non-Italian, piatti unici, Winter by Frank18 Comments

For some reason, I must be feeling nostalgic for my Vienna days as I keep coming back to the dishes I made during those years. Perhaps it’s the cold weather that calls out for the hearty cooking of Mitteleuropa. In any event, here’s another favorite from that time and place: Viennese Goulash. Goulash is a simple beef stew that employs the usual dry followed by moist heat method, but with two twists: the use of lots of onion—half as much by weight as the meat—and, of course, Hungarian paprika. The cooking fat can be oil, lard or even rendered beef fat.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 1 kilo (2 lbs.) stewing beef, cut into cubes
  • 500g (1 lb.) onions, chopped
  • Oil, lard or rendered beef fat
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hungarian paprika, to taste
  • Beef broth, enough to cover the meat
  • 1-2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • A pinch of caraway seeds
  • A sprig of fresh marjoram (or thyme)
  • A spoonful of flour mixed with some water

Directions

Add enough cooking fat to cover the bottom of a Dutch oven or braiser. Brown the beef cubes nicely in the fat on all sides and set aside.

Now add the onions and gently sweat them in the same pan until they are nicely soft and browned, but not burnt. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Add back the browned meat and mix well. Allow the meat and onions to simmer together for a few minutes, then sprinkle over the paprika. Most recipes call for 1-2 tablespoons, but I just ‘eyeball’ it, and I’m pretty sure I add more than just a spoonful, as I love the taste of paprika. You then allow the paprika to simmer in the fat to release its full aroma, again for just a minute or two. Paprika can burn if heated too much, so moderate your heat as needed.

Add enough beef broth to just cover the meat, along with the tomato paste, caraway and marjoram. Cover and simmer it all gently until the meat is quite tender, usually about two hours. This can be done over the stove or, if you prefer, in a moderate (180C/350F) oven.

Just before serving, add your flour and water slurry to the pan, a spoonful or two at a time, to give the sauce a nice liaison. If, on the other hand, you find that your sauce is too thick or there is simply not enough of it, add some water.

Serve your Viennese goulash warm, with buttered noodles, spätle or Knödel (bread dumplings).

Notes

There is a certain linguistic confusion over the name of this dish as it is used in its homeland of Hungary. This article explains, as I had heard before, that gulyás, from which we get our word goulash, actually refers to a soup, which back in Vienna was called Gulaschsuppe. What we call goulash is called pörkölt in Hungarian (but please don’t ask me how that’s pronounced…)

Many recipes call for you to sauté the onions first, and then brown the beef with onions, which is more straightforward than the procedures outlined above, which is more typical of a French daube or an Italian spezzatino. In fact, my blog buddy Chiara Giglio has a post on how they make goulasch in Trieste just that way. But I actually like to use the Frenchified method for this dish, as you can caramelize the meat nicely without any worried about burning the onion.

There are lots of different kinds of goulash, with or without meat, and with or without vegetables. But Viennese Goulash, in my humble opinion, is the best of the lot, although admittedly I am biased. After all, we all tend to like what we know best.

Viennese Goulash

Rating: 51

Total Time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo (2 lbs.) stewing beef, cut into cubes
  • 500g (1 lb.) onions, chopped
  • Oil, lard or rendered beef fat
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hungarian paprika, to taste
  • Beef broth, enough to cover the meat
  • 1-2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • A pinch of caraway seeds
  • A sprig of fresh marjoram (or thyme)
  • A spoonful of flour mixed with some water

Directions

  1. Add enough cooking fat to cover the bottom of a Dutch oven or braiser. Brown the beef cubes nicely in the fat on all sides and set aside.
  2. Now add the onions and gently sweat them in the same pan until they are nicely soft and browned, but not burnt. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Add back the browned meat and mix well. Allow the meat and onions to simmer together for a few minutes, then sprinkle over the paprika. Most recipes call for 1-2 tablespoons, but I just 'eyeball' it, and I'm pretty sure I add more than just a spoonful, as I love the taste of paprika. You then allow the paprika to simmer in the fat to release its full aroma, again for just a minute or two. Paprika can burn if heated too much, so moderate your heat as needed.
  3. Add enough beef broth to just cover the meat, along with the tomato paste, caraway and marjoram. Cover and simmer it all gently until the meat is quite tender, usually about two hours. This can be done over the stove or, if you prefer, in a moderate (180C/350F) oven.
  4. Just before serving, add your flour and water slurry to the pan, a spoonful or two at a time, to give the sauce a nice liaison. If, on the other hand, you find that your sauce is too thick or there is simply not enough of it, add some water.
  5. Serve your Viennese goulash warm, with buttered noodles, spätle or Knödel (bread dumplings).
http://memoriediangelina.com/2010/12/26/viennese-goulash/

Comments

  1. When you lived in Vienna what cut of meat did you get? I’m in Munich now and I sometimes have trouble finding the right cut of meat for my recipes since they cut it slightly different. Thanks!

  2. per essere autentico fiakergulasch deve essere completato con l'aggiunta di un uovo fritto in padella in olio bollente
    Giorgio

  3. When I was a kid, my grandmother would make goulash but she'd serve it with elbow macaroni instead of spätle. You can't find spätle too easily in Eastern Montana! LOL!

  4. Thanks the comments, guys!

    @Chiara: Your goulash looks wonderful… lots of tomatoey goodness… 😉

    @Ciao Chow Linda: Well, I didn't know about Italian goulash but it certainly doesn't surprise me that they make it in Trieste, given the historical links. As you will have seen, Chiara has linked to her recipe for goulash alla triestina in these comments!

    @Julia: Funny your experience trying to search out goulash in Budapest! My guess: they are tired of tourists asking for it…

    And thanks to everyone for your readership this year. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a wonderful 2011!

    @Drick: Thanks for the kind words! Looking forward to more of your delicious Gulf Coast recipes in the coming year.

  5. This looks like a perfect winter dish. When I first looked at the photo, I was certain there must be red wine in it as it looks so rich and warming, but no.

    We went to Budapest a few years ago and hunted out the restaurants serving traditional Hungarian fare. Not a goulash to be had anywhere! 🙂

  6. Everything you make always looks so inviting and this is no exception. This is perfect for these cold days!

  7. This is indeed a comforting dish that I've also eaten in Austria, but it's also popular in alpine towns in Northern Italy, very close to Austria's border.

  8. Mmm. Can you say comfort food? This and some homemade rolls would put us all in food heaven. Just wish I had a bit of snow outside to complete the scene!
    Cheers and have a great New Year,
    Don

  9. like your method too, and a nice understanding of goulash and a fantastic recipe – love beef, love paprika & love onions…. thanks so much Frank for trying out the glaze for the ham, and I am glad it passed the test of your kin….a *big* thank you… wishing you and your family a very blessed New Years and so looking forward to more of your 'teachings' as I am such a young student of your masterful understanding of Italian foods…

  10. Thanks for the linguistics lesson; hubby is a retired linguist! Soups and stews are a great comfort food, even in Florida, and an easy way to get your veggies (onions qualify!). I often make soups and stews when I travel. I enjoyed my first but not last visit to your site.
    TheTravelCook

  11. This looks fantastic. I love the addition of the caraway seeds and think that that many onions can only enhance the dish. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Leave a Comment