Hungarian Goulash

An authentic goulash is more a soup than a stew, and its preparation traditionally begins with the beef or veal being fried in lard, though you may prefer to use olive oil or a mixture of sunflower oil and butter.


  • about 85 g/ 3 oz lard or oil
  • salt and pepper
  • flour
  • 900 g/ 2 lb of shin or chuck steak, cut into 115-g/ 4-oz pieces
  • 400 g/ 14 oz onions, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 450 g/ 1 lb canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre/ pints beef or chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Horseradish Dumplings

  • 170 g/ 6 oz self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
  • 60 g/ 2 oz white breadcrumbs
  • 4 tsp grated horseradish
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 85 g/ 3 oz unsalted butter
  • white of 1 egg


Heat the lard or oil in a frying pan. Season and flour the shin or chuck steak pieces and brown vigorously all over, transferring them to a heavy casserole dish as they are done.

Fry the onions in the pan until brown, adding a little more lard or your chosen fat if needed. As it browns, stir in the garlic and paprika. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, then spoon over the meat.

Season with salt and pepper and pour in the canned tomatoes and stock. Add the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. You can cook on the hob or in an oven preheated to 160°C/325°F/gas 3. Don’t take the meat too far; it should be tender but coherent. Overcooking will deliver a dry finish.

The goulash may be eaten immediately, but improves by being left until the next day, when it should be reheated very gently, adding water if necessary to give a soupy consistency.

To make the dumplings, put the flour, breadcrumbs, grated horseradish, chopped parsley, salt and butter in a food processor. Blitz to a crumb texture, then, with the machine still running, add the egg white through the feeder tube. Add a little cold water until the dough balls. With floured hands and on a floured surface, shape the dough into ping-pong-sized balls. Poach in simmering salted water for about 20 minutes, when they should be well risen and light.

Serve the dumplings with the goulash.