Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas)
Warm, savory, and satisfying… There is just nothing more comforting than cuddling up with a large bowl of beef stew. As the weather gets colder, my craving for stew grows stronger!
But even as a lover of classic beef stew, I must admit that this deliciously simple beef, carrots, and potatoes dish can get a bit boring after too many servings. So, I figured it was time to branch out and try different versions of the same basic beloved stewed beef concept. This Rustic Hungarian Goulash is at the top of my list – it has all your favorite comfort food flavors with a great punch of paprika!
A bit of backstory: Dan’s grandparents are Hungarian, and so this dish is a nod to his Grandmother’s beef and potato gulyas. Her original version was a thinner “peasant fare” recipe, meant to feed a family on a small budget. My kicked-up goulash recipe is a bit more robust, with lots of veggies and smoky paprika. It is still quite inexpensive and simple to make, but is a heartier dinner for a large family and excellent as a make-ahead meal.
What’s the Difference Between Hungarian Goulash and American Goulash?
While both stews include beef cooked with a paprika and tomato-based broth, these two goulashes are very different. American-style goulash typically is made with ground beef and macaroni noodles, and is cooked quickly in a skillet.
Hungarian Goulash, however, features chunks of meat and potatoes slowly cooked in a large pot. The result is a comforting, rich stew with terrific depth of flavor.
The Best Rustic Hungarian Goulash Recipe
Hungarian Goulash is also known as Gulyas, which is a Hungarian word for “cowboy.” This dish was originally made by herdsmen as they were out on the range, using whatever veggies they had on hand. It could be a thin soup or hearty stew, depending on what was available. The flexibility of goulash is still one of its best traits, and recipes today greatly differ in preferences of ingredients and consistency.
We personally love a thick Hungarian Goulash Stew. It’s the perfect meal to feed the family on a cold fall or winter night! Our recipe uses potatoes and seasonal vegetables, and is great to make in a big batch for lots of guaranteed leftovers.
What Ingredients You Need
The heartiness of Hungarian Goulash is created by combining several simple, wholesome ingredients. We use fresh veggies and, of course, a generous amount of paprika to create intense earthy and smoky flavors in every bite.
Here is everything needed to make an authentic and nourishing beef goulash:
- Oil – for sautéing
- Sweet onion – peeled and diced
- Garlic – finely minced
- Hungarian paprika – sweet Hungarian paprika is traditional, but you can also use smoked paprika if you like
- Beef stew meat – use inexpensive chuck meat, cubed
- Red peppers – seeded and chopped
- Carrots – peeled and chopped
- Bay leaves – kept whole
- Caraway seeds – for a wonderful bittersweet flavor
- Canned diced tomatoes – you’ll want to use the juices, too
- Beef broth – or beef base and water
- Russet potatoes – scrubbed and cubed
- Parsley – fresh, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
Other ingredients sometimes included in gulyas are celery, green peppers, or whatever veggies are on hand.
How to Make Hungarian Goulash
This rustic Hungarian Goulash recipe does take a good bit of time to properly cook, but only requires a few simple steps to prepare.
First, set a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil, chopped onions, and garlic, and sauté for just a couple of minutes to soften. Then stir in the paprika and beef chunks. Brown the meat, stirring constantly to make sure not to burn the paprika.
Next add in the chopped bell peppers, carrots, bay leaves, caraway seeds, can of diced tomatoes with the juices, beef broth, and a bit of salt.
Stir well, cover, and simmer for an hour while stirring occasionally.
Once the meat has stewed and the carrots and peppers have cooked down, mix in the chopped potatoes. Cover and simmer again for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Stir in the parsley, taste, and salt and pepper as needed.
Get the Complete Printable Rustic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas) Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Serve Hungarian Goulash warm, with some homemade rolls and a fresh salad on the side.
This dish tastes even more delicious the next day after the ingredients have continued melding. It is a great recipe for make-ahead meal prepping! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I hope you give this recipe a try and add Hungarian-style beef stew to your favorite cold weather comfort foods!
Can Hungarian Gulyas Be Made In A Slow Cooker?
Sure! You will still need to sauté the veggies and brown the meat on the stovetop.
Then add all the ingredients to a large 6-8 quart crock pot and cook on LOW for 9-12 hours, or on HIGH for 6-7 hours.
Looking for More Classic Comfort Food Recipes?
- Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles
- The Best Beef Stew Recipe
- Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- Mom’s Best Beef Pot Roast
- Easy Beef Stroganoff Recipe with Butter Noodles
Rustic Hungarian Goulash Recipe
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 extra-large sweet onion peeled and chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup Hungarian paprika or 3 tb Hungarian paprika + 1 tb smoked paprika
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 2 large red bell peppers seeded and chopped
- 2 large carrots sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups beef broth or water + 4 teaspoon beef base
- 2 large russet potatoes peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- Set a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Add the oil, chopped onions, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes to soften. Stir in the paprika and beef chunks. Brown the meat for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure not to burn the paprika.
- Add in the bell peppers, carrots, bay leaves, caraway seeds, tomatoes, broth, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir well. Cover. Then simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the chopped potatoes. Cover and simmer again for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Then stir in the parsley. Taste, and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.
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