Hungry at Home: Dave’s Hungarian Goulash

One of my favourite snowy, rainy or just generally crappy weather meals was my dad’s recipe for Hungarian goulash, a paprika-heavy tomato and beef stew served over a generous bowl of broad egg noodles. It was perfect for yesterday’s snowy April evening and it also seemed like a perfect red-tinted food to enjoy as we wait for the Flames to enter the NHL playoffs!

A word of caution – I make this on days when I have other simple chores that can be done in the kitchen as the stew needs to be monitored and stirred frequently while it simmers for 2-3 hours. You do not want to go through all of this only to serve a dish that tastes of slightly burnt paprika… trust me.

This batch will make enough goulash for many dinner companions or leftover portions – if you serve it with the noodles, it’s about 8 bowls. It freezes fairly well and if you go that route, I suggest thawing it in a saucepan over the stove with a little water or beef broth to loosen it up.

This recipe can easily be made gluten free if you swap rice for the egg noodles (or skip the starch altogether) and nix the flour. It’s in there to help thicken the broth, so you can use other thickeners like cornstarch or potato flour instead.

Dave’s Hungarian Goulash

Goulash Prep

For 8 (hefty) portions:

Oil for sautéing (Dad uses olive oil, I use canola)
3 medium yellow or white onions, thinly sliced or 0.5” squares
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced or 0.5” squares (Dad uses green peppers, I use what’s on hand)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp flour
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
5 oz canned tomato paste
3 cups hot beef stock
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Broad egg noodles, boiled, 1 handful per person

  1. In a soup or stock pot, sauté the onions and bell peppers in oil. This is when I usually sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper. When the onions start to soften, add the garlic and keep the vegetables moving until the onions begin to appear translucent. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Bring the beef stock up to a simmer in another pot. You’ll need it in step 5.
  3. In the first pot (used for the veggies), add more oil as needed, then brown the beef and season with cracked black pepper. Once all sides of the beef cubes are browned, return the vegetables to the pot.
  4. Stir together the paprika and flour, then sprinkle over the beef and vegetables. Mix very well to keep the flour and paprika from scorching.
  5. Once everything looks evenly coated in the flour and paprika, add the diced tomatoes, paste and hot stock. Stir well.
  6. Simmer the mixture for 2-3 hours until the beef is tender. (Obviously you’ll need to keep snagging pieces of beef to check, lucky you!) This is the hard part. You have to keep a close eye on it and stir at least every minute or two to prevent the bottom from scorching.
  7. When the beef is tender, boil 1 handful of egg noodles for each portion you’ll be serving per the instructions on the packet.
A family-sized portion photographs better than a single serving, so RIP my pant size!

I like this with a big scoop of sour cream on top, but it’s a rich, juicy stew all on its own. The only thing left to figure out is whether to eat it with a spoon or a fork – this was an ongoing debate for much of my childhood!

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