Hungarian gulyas

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Hungarian restaurateur and author George Lang says that what is usually served in the name of Hungarian goulasch (gulyas) shouldn’t happen to a Rumanian. (My apologies to all Rumanians who feel offended by this). The real thing, which was originally a shepherd’s way of preserving beef for the long sojourns out with the flock, should be beefy, hot and quite soupy. Serve with bread or with home-made noodles.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 kg (2 lb) beef (blade), cut into 2 cm (¾ in) cubes
  • pinch of caraway seeds
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 litre (1 quart) water or beef broth, boiling
  • 350 g (12 oz) canned or fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green pepper (capsicum), cut into rings
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped marjoram


Heat olive oil and cook onions and garlic for 10 minutes until soft. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from heat and add caraway seeds, salt and paprika, stirring. Return to heat and add boiling water or broth, stirring well.

Cook gently for 1 hour, partly covered, skimming occasionally. Add tomatoes, green pepper and potatoes, and cook for another hour until meat and vegetables are tender and the juices are still a bit soupy. Give the whole dish a big strong stir towards the end to help the cooked potatoes dissolve and thicken the sauce.

Taste for salt and pepper and serve in wide shallow soup or pasta bowls with a ladleful or two of sauce. Scatter marjoram on top and serve hot.