Sunday 8 March 2015

Hungarian Goulash with spaetzles and German Red cabbage!

Hungarian Goulash (Gulyás)

Hungarian goulash is a prime example of how a few simple ingredients, cooked properly, can yield an amazing flavor.  Though many variations of Hungarian goulash exist, I am hoping this one passes the test with my daughter-in-law and her Hungarian parents!

 I love Hungarian food, and both Wee Bear and I are always thrilled when we get to go to my son and daughter-in-laws home for dinner. She and her Mother are amazing in the kitchen and the craft room.

Wee Bear and I are visiting Budapest this next Fall. When I looked at pictures I immediately fell in love with it.  I can hardly wait for this river cruise from Prague to Budapest. It may become one of my most favorite European cities.  Its name comes from the two sides of the city (Buda and Pest) separated by the Danube River running through it.  I don’t know that any city has a more breathtaking site than Budapest’s famous chain bridge, its parliament building, and the incredible Buda Castle.

Hungary’s history has been one of hardship and heartbreak.  But the passion and stamina of soul has remained in the hearts of the Hungarian people.  I’ve always been touched by Hungary’s national anthem, Himnusz, or “hymn”, written by the poet Kölcsey.  Their anthem is a poetic prayer and unlike most anthems that focus on an expression of national pride, the Hungarian anthem is a direct, heartfelt plea to God.  In the mid-19th century, during the years of strongest communist rule in Hungary, the words were not song, only the music was played.  The communist government asked two of the most acclaimed artists of that time, a poet and composer, to rewrite the national anthem.  Both refused.  The next communist leader also tried, unsuccessfully, to have it changed. Here are the first three lines.

O God, bless the nation of Hungary
With your grace and bounty
Extend over it your guarding arm

Hungarian Flag 2

Traditionally, goulash is made in a special cauldron (bogracs). Different regions have different recipes, but they all agree on a few things, pork fat or lard, no flour, no wine, and no sour cream. Some serve it with boiled potatoes and some serve it with csipetke (chi-pet-ke), small quenelles of egg pasta, poached in stock. This recipe is my American version!!

 Hungarian Goulash

6 T unsalted butter
3 lb. lean beef, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (sirloin tip or eye of round)
1-2 T all purpose flour
2 c. yellow onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 c. sweet Hungarian paprika ( add half taste after cooking and add more if desired)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 T tomato paste
1 c. beef stock
1/2 c. red wine
1 c. sour cream or creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 325 F

Dry meat and dust with flour. In a heavy saute pan, melt 4 T butter and brown meat on all sides. Do only a few cubes at a time, never crowd the pan. Remove sauteed cubes to a large, heavy casserole.

Add more butter to saute pan and saute onion and garlic. Add paprika, being careful NOT to burn it as this will make the taste bitter.

Add salt, pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring all the time. Pour the stock and wine bring to a boil and pour over meat in casserole. Cover casserole with foil, then with a lid.

Bake for 2 hours or until tender. Stir in the sour cream and serve. 

~Can freeze before adding sour cream/creme fraiche. Add sour cream after warming up.


3 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten lightly
2/3 c. water

In a large mixing bowl, or food processor, combine flour, salt and nutmeg. Add eggs and most of the water, mix and process.

It should be a soft dough, but not runny. Add remaining water if too stiff. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 T salt. Rinse the spaetzle machine with cold water. Have another bowl of cold water ready.

I use my spaetzle maker to rice my potatoes for Mashed potatoes as well as making the delicous spaetzles. You can find at many kitchen shops and of course this link to spaetzle maker on Amazon.

 Push the dough through the machine into the boiling water. Cook until spaetzle rises to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into the cold water, then drain.

This can be done ahead.

When you are ready to serve- 

Melt 6 T of butter in a large frying pan. Add spaetzle and toss to heat through. Season with slat and pepper.

Serving suggestions when not serving with the goulash-

Heat 1/2 cup sour cream and mix with the spaetzle.  OR omit sour cream and top with bread crumbs browned in butter.

German Red Cabbage

1 red cabbage
3 T bacon drippings, or butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 apples, chopped
1/4 c. raspberry vinegar or raspberry syrup
salt and pepper to taste
1 T sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 c. currant or seedless raspberry jam, or jelly

Shred the cabbage. There should be about 6 cups.

In a heavy saucepan, cook the onions in either the bacon drippings or butter, until almost soft. Do not let them brown. Add the cabbage and apples and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time.

Add raspberry vinegar or syrup, salt, pepper and sugar. Cover saucepan and simmer over very low heat for 45 minutes. It might be necessary to add some water.

Stir in lemon juice and jam or jelly of your choice and simmer again for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust flavoring by either adding more lemon juice or jam.

Our river cruise is going to be amazing! The entire river boat is book with friends, mostly from Seattle, but some from Arizona and Alaska as well. Wee Bear and I are thrilled that 3 couples of our friendship circle will be on board, one of which is Hungarian born! I'm sure this next Fall I will have plenty more to share with you!  

UPDATE!! We just arrived back from our beautiful river cruise with friends, and another is being planned! It was so much more than we ever expected. One od the top holiday's we have ever been on, every port was interesting and with our four extra days in Prague and Budapest, we were in ecstasy.Here is some of the hundreds of pictures, these all taken in Budapest!

1 Evening cruise around the island on our riverboat. 2 View from our room at Four Seasons 3 St. Stephens on Pest side. 4 Heroes Square

1 Dinner at Gundel included a "Flaming chocolate sauce over Walnut crepes" 2. JJ in the lobby bar at the Four Seasons, spectacular! 3. JJ Silly selfie taken at the Historic art Gallery with the Pest side of Budapest in the backgound. 4. Wee Bear with his Escargot  on our final night in Budapest. This is the Kollaz Brasserie and bar in Four Seasons, Budapest.


  1. I love this cuisine and can't wait to make this. Jane

  2. Wow! That is a wonderful post! Made me homesick! All you need now is a bottle of Hungarian red vine ( Bulls blood) and a couple of Gipsy musician! Cheers

    1. Great to hear from you Mama Munski! Thank you for commenting! Cheers to you! JJ

  3. This sounds delicious,I've never had anything like this will try very very soon! I've been going through your recipes this morning and I already need a napkin,I've been drooling so much! Wini

    1. Hi Wini! I am certain you will love this recipe, it get's lots of Mmmmm's from my family! Enjoy! JJ

  4. I made this Sunday night, my family loved it. thanks again! Jillian

    1. Thanks Jillian for the comment! I'm happy you enjoyed! JJ


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