Roberta’s Recipes: Goulash

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…


Serves: 4

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

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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.

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Goulash goes very nicely with red wine, and it’s ideal for cold winter days, friends!

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