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A Hungarian's Recipe for Hungarian Gulash: You Say Goulash, I Say Gulyas - Let's Just Call it Soup!

Hungarian Gulyas (the real one!)

This is what Hungarian Gulyas (a.k.a. Gulash, Goulash) is supposed to look like (for real!)

You may or may not know that my twin brother Steve and I are first generation born Americans. 

Yep, we grew up in the kitchen, breathing in the delicious aromas of my mother's and grandmother's Hungarian cooking.

Feel free to trust me when I tell you that there is absolutely NOTHING better than a big old steaming bowl of happiness, served up with some crusty bread, on a cold, wet, gloomy, or slightly sad sort of day.

Hungarian comfort food, baby!

You know that reddish-brown-gravy-laden stew-type dish served over noodles and featured as "Hungarian Goulash" in cookbooks and cooking magazines?

Nope, that is actually called Pörkölt (purr-curlt) although, also filed under Hungarian comfort food, it is very versatile and can be prepared using beef, veal, lamb or chicken (a.k.a. chicken paprikash!)

You can find my family's recipe for Pörkölt HERE!

Gulyas (ghoul-yah-sh) on the other hand, is a soup. 

Backstory:  Gulya in Hungarian means herdsman, or cowboy.  Gulyas (a.k.a. Gulash, Goulash) means "of the herdsman," who would have prepared this dish in a cast iron pot hitched over a stone fire pit while working the puszta (pooh-stuh) or the Hungarian prairie, if you will.

Although, they probably didn't include dumplings in their recipe (I don't think.)

I mentioned something on Facebook about making Hungarian Gulyas (et al) yesterday and then promised to share my family's recipe here with everyone, too!

So, to set the record straight:

Gulyas Leves (Hungarian Goulash)


1 large diced onion
3 carrots (chopped)
3 chopped stalks celery
3-4 cubed potatoes
2 diced frying peppers, a.k.a. cubanol
1 tomato
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. cubed stew beef
6 cups beef broth (can be diluted to 3 cups water and 3 cups beef broth or just add 6 cups of hot water if you don't have any broth at home )
2 tsp. paprika
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
2 TBS. vegetable oil
1 tsp. caraway seeds steeped in 1/2 cup of hot water


1.  Heat oil in large stock pot, saute onion for 3-5 minutes.

2.  Add the cubed meat and stir until well browned.

3.  Stir in chopped onion, carrots, peppers and garlic, heat through for 3-5 minutes.

4.  Stir in tomato.

5.  Add broth (or, water) paprika, salt, black pepper and bring to boil.

6.  Lower heat and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is fork-tender.

8.  Steep caraway seeds in a 1 cup of boiling water, strain caraway tea into soup.

7.  Add potatoes and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.

[Note:  My family prefers adding the caraway tea, rather than putting the seeds directly into the soup.  If you can find caraway powder, all the better, just add 2 TBS and you're good to go!]

9.  Add dumplings (recipe to follow) to simmering soup, stirring constantly.

10.  Simmer on low a for another 3-5 minutes and serve hot with crusty bread.



2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cups of water

1.  Add flour to bowl, making a well in the middle of the flour.

2.  Add the eggs, salt and water in center and then mix well until combined.

[Note:  The mixture will look like a very loose and sticky dough]

3.  Use a spaetzle maker, or drop 1/2 teaspoon portions of the dumpling mixture directly into soup, stirring in between additions so that dumplings do not stick to each other.

4.  Simmer uncovered for another 3 to 5 minutes.

[Note:  You can easily substitute uncooked egg noodles for the dumplings and add directly into soup with potatoes.]

PHEW, there ya' go.  The REAL deal.

Aaaand, if you're STILL reading along...well...I will love you until the day I d'ugh...um...stop remembering my name!

[knocking on wood until knuckles bleed]

Did I mention we Hunkies are a superstitious lot!?!?

[raises glass]

EGESEGEDRE (to your health!)

© 2003 - 2011 This Full House

[Cross-posted to my other blog: where I write about shopping, cooking and other professional domestic engineer-type related stuff, because the world NEEDS a good Gulash recipe straight from the old country, just sayin']

© This Full House 2003-2021. All rights reserved.
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