Stew, Baby, Stew: Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian goulash (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

How can you go wrong with a recipe that has both bacon and wine? You can’t, as I discovered making this variation on Hungarian Goulash. Authenticity aside, this hearty, heavy winter stew was exactly what I needed coming back to Berlin after two weeks on a beach in the north of Colombia.

Here in Berlin, where I find myself wearing all of the clothes I own at one time, there’s no action too petty to warm up. Like showering multiple times a day because it’s the warmest place in the apartment. Or reneging on sunlight because it just might be warmer with the shutters closed. Or begging my boyfriend never to leave the bed just so that it’s always warm when I want to go to sleep.

veggies for Hungarian goulash (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

beef chuck in the pot (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

About a month or so ago, my uncle sent me an email, which is worth reprinting:

i am making soup as I type.

i have some smoked ribs i made a month or so ago that i just won’t eat so i figured i would cook them off the bones.  of course, I have no recipe as I just do jungle cooking – onion, celery (love it for flavor), green pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, garlic cloves, Cajun seasoning, and some beef bullion …i will let it cook for four or five hours and then taste and add seasonings as required.  tomorrow after it cooks overnight, i will peel the meat off the bones and add some carrots… finally, i will add some noodles and make some fresh bread to serve with the soup…

soup is a wonderful way to get rid of leftovers while creating a new meal …kind of like making wine out of water and that friend yeast thing Mom use to raise…just kept going and going… can see why humans still make pots of soup and just keep adding to it (no this tradition didn’t stop after the mid-evil ages… there are billions who are thousands of years behind us and still live this way – look at WV… yuk yuk…)

p.s. Elisabeth – I have been on a quest to find the best goulash soup …I ate some 13 – 15 years ago in some bar in Bavaria and have been trying it everywhere else…I need a recipe… smooth, tasteful, creamy, and that makes you feel like you just had the best time of your life… mmm… memories …mmmm… good soup… mmm

Hungarian goulash (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

So you see, it was a goulash challenge. It seemed, however, as though there was always something keeping me from making goulashy goodness – whether illness or projects or time – and it’s not until now, in winter-weathered Berlin that I don’t just have the inclination to make goulash, I have the need. It’s warm.

And this goulash will certainly keep you warm on a cold night. It’s got everything you need for maximum belly-fullness – potatoes, carrots, melted meaty slivers of beef, bacon and stewed tomatoes – as well as some surprises like white wine, dried marjoram and liver. Serve it with rye bread, the rest of the white wine. For dessert – an episode of bad TV and the covers, pulled up to your chin.

potatoes, parsnips (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Hungarian Goulash
5 slices bacon
2 chopped yellow onions
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
¼ lb. beef liver
2 lbs. boneless beef chuck
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp black caraway seeds
3 tbsp flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 medium-sized potatoes
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1 green bell pepper
1 sweet Hungarian pepper
1 can peeled tomatoes

Heat bacon in a soup pot and when it’s just cooked but not crispy, add onions, butter, and paprika and cook until onions are glassy. Pat liver and chuck dry and cut into stew-sized pieces. Add to the pot and brown the meat, stirring infrequently, about 6 minutes. Add marjoram, caraway and flour and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add wine (be sure it almost covers the meat) and bring to a boil, then turn heat to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour. In the meantime, coarsely chop potatoes and bring to a boil in lightly salted water until just tender. Set aside.

After your goulash has been simmering for an hour, add chopped carrots, parsnips, and bell pepper. Add enough of the potato cooking water to cover the meat and bring the goulash to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn the heat back to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Add potatoes, tomatoes, and Hungarian pepper. Turn heat up to medium and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  1. Gail Gibson says:

    Oh my goodness! I have to make this…soon!

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