Here’s another recipe from my childhood days in Mitteleuropa, dear friends: goulash, that famous Hungarian national dish – very easy to do, enormously tasty and ideal for a Sunday dinner with friends or family! If your budget’s a bit tight, you can replace the traditional beef or lamb with chicken, which is just as tasty.
Goulash has got a long tradition; it was a simple shepherds’ stew in Hungary long before the tomato, nowadays a key ingredient, or even its most famous ingredient, paprika, were even introduced to Europe. It developed in a miraculous way over the centuries, though, and is now known all over central and Southern Europe – in Greece, for example, it’s called ‘kokkinisto’ and is served with grated cheese on top; while in Germany, Austria and Czechia, some people add sauerkraut to it…
Cooking time: 2 hours
500-800g cubed beef or lamb or chicken legs or wings
1kg potatoes or 500g macaroni or rice
4-5 big onions
500ml tomato sauce
2 ripe tomatoes or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, sugar, olive oil
As I said, dear friends and fellow hobby cooks, goulash is very easy to do – all you have to do is remember to stir it and add some water about every 15-20 minutes, because it is a slow cooking recipe. Otherwise, the only bit of preparation is at the beginning: quarter the onions and brown them in a big pot with a generous amount of olive oil; then add the meat and brown as well.
Add the tomato sauce and the sliced or tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, a bit of cayenne pepper and of course a lot of sweet paprika! As with all tomato dishes, don’t forget to also add a teaspoon or two of sugar to take away the sourness. Reduce the heat, add a glass or two of water, and let your goulash simmer for about two hours; and remember to stir and add some water every 15-20 minutes! (You might want to set an alarm, like I do…)
According to taste, you can do potatoes, macaroni or rice as a side dish; if you choose potatoes, you can add them to the goulash after about 30-40 minutes. If you do macaroni or rice, start cooking them about 20 minutes before the goulash is ready.
Goulash goes very nicely with red wine, and it’s ideal for cold winter days, friends!