Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • pounds beef chuck or round, cut to ¾-inch cubes
  • ½ pound beef heart (optional), cut to ¾-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch of caraway seeds
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons “Noble Rose” paprika
  • 1 medium-sized ripe tomato
  • 2 green frying or Italian peppers
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • Little Dumplings

Method

  1. Peel onions and chop into coarse pieces. Melt lard in a heavy 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven. Sauté onions in lard. Heat should be low in order not to brown the onions.
  2. When onions become glossy, add beef and beef heart. Stir so that during this part of the process, which should last for about 10 minutes, the meat will be sautéed with the onions.
  3. Meanwhile, chop and crush the garlic with the caraway seeds and a little salt; use the flat side of a heavy knife.
  4. Take kettle from heat. Stir in paprika and the garlic mixture. Stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Immediately after paprika is absorbed, add quarts warm water. (Cold water toughens meat if you add it while the meat is frying.)
  5. Replace covered kettle over low heat and cook for about 1 hour.
  6. While the braising is going on, peel the tomato, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Core green peppers and slice into rings. Peel potatoes and cut into ¾-inch dice.
  7. After meat has been braised for about 1 hour (the time depends on the cut of the meat), add the cut-up tomato and green peppers and enough water to give a soup consistency. Add a little salt. Simmer slowly for another 30 minutes.
  8. Add potatoes, and cook the gulyás till done. Adjust salt. Add hot cherry pepper pods if you want to make the stew spicy hot.
  9. Cook the dumplings in the stew.
  10. Serve the gulyás steaming hot in large extra-deep bowls. The meat should be tender, but not falling apart.

Variations

I. Some housewives start with small pieces of smoked bacon instead of lard.

It is possible to omit the tomato and green peppers and instead add a ready-made lecsó during the last 5 minutes.

There are many variations even on the basic ingredients. Some people use different types of meat, including pork, veal and sausages. Some add other vegetables like carrots, green beans, kohlrabi, etc.

As far as the spicing is concerned, some cooks add a small amount of black pepper in addition to paprika; others add marjoram or bay leaf; some use a little more onion and no garlic at all. Particularly in the southern section of Hungary, fresh or dried cherry peppers are added, which puts the crown on this glorious soup for the Hungarians. For a non-Hungarian, in this case, the crown is white-hot.

II. Palóc Soup: The city cousin, a creation of Gundel’s, is the palóc soup. This is a mutton gulyás with a lot of green beans and sour cream.

III. Pörkölt: This stew was born out of the same love affair. If you eliminate most of the liquid and cook meat down to its fat you get pörkölt. You should end up with about 1 cup of rich sauce.

If you are able to get wild boar meat, make a pörkölt with it. Only use a young animal, so you don’t have to marinate the meat.

IV. Beer Gulyás: Make the same way as Kettle Gulyas, but use beer in stead of water in Step 4.

V. Strained Gulyas Broth (Derített gulyásleves): For a formal dinner prepare a rich gulyas without potatoes or dumplings. When finished, strain. Serve the broth in soup cups. Use the meat to stuff green peppers.

VI. Kolozsvári gulyás: This is the brother-in-law of the székelygulyás; it is made with beef and fresh cabbage. Follow the recipe to Step 8; when you add the potatoes, also add 1 medium-sized fresh cabbage cut to 1-inch chunks. Omit the little dumplings. Adjust salt before serving.

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