The Goulash - Stew or soup?

Credit: TruffleRose

Goulash is traditionally a soup. However, these days, there are two variations, mainly the stew that is thicker and the soup variation which is the true original.

The goulash consists of the following key ingredients: Beef cubes, diced onions, vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, spices bay leaf, thyme and ground caraway seeds, seasonings. And the most important spice: the chilli powder (paprika powder).

Goulash is sometimes confused with the pörkölt. Pörkölt is a stew which means the texture is thicker and Hungarian paprika (the vegetable form which is sweet and thin-skinned) is added along with tomatoes to create the gravy.

Very frequently, people who fell in love with this dish asked 'what is the secret?'

It lies in the treatment of the paprika powder! How you handle the paprika is absolutely the key to a good pot of goulash.

First, you must fry diced onions (vöröshagyma) in szalonna which is what we called the 'lard'. Once the onion turns light golden colour, lift up the pan off the fire and quickly add paprika powder. Do not underestimate these steps because paprika powder turns bitter if you directly heat it over the fire instead of the 'hot fat'. See the difference?

A good quality base of this mixture is prepared to coat the beef chunks from fresh and well-exercised slab of beef that has muscles rich in collagen in them. Making this dish fantastic when it is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Coat the beef chunks well and return the pan to the fire.

The second secret is adding of tomatoes to this mixture. The Hungarian tomatoes are sweet and these natural juices from the vegetable makes it really delicious.

Mostly, I cook it with veal (calves' meat). Very rarely from pork or lamb though some people do.

The best accompaniment is the Cucumber Salad (uborkasaláta). This salad is made by marinating thinly sliced cucumber and one small clove of garlic in a dash of vinegar. Soaking it in a water mixture with a small teaspoon of sugar. Refrigerate it for about one hour. Finally, topped it with sour cream before serving.

Other than Hungary, in Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands and Italy, you can easily find goulash as one of their menu items. In the North American and Slavic cuisines, goulash are also enjoyed.

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