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Hungarian Beef Goulash (Gulyás) with Parsley and Caraway Seed Dumplings

I have gathered at least five recipes for Hungarian Goulash to put together my favourite combination here.
For starters I like to add as many extra vegetables to any meal now, so have included all that I found compliment this dish. Feel free to add an extra carrot or celery in there. You could also add some baby potatoes to simmer away in the last 30 – 40 minutes cooking time - especially if you don’t have time or intend to make the dumplings. The dish is just as good without them but they do add something special if you are making this for a dinner party. 
I love the kick of the hot smoked paprika and cayenne pepper – it brings out the beautiful combination of hot and cold with the sour cream. Substitute with Spanish smoked paprika and/or add extra ground chillies – if you can, try to add the smoked flavour and some fire to it basically. You can take it out the heat to serve as a family meal though of course - and serve with pasta as per the picture below. You could also coat the fettucine in some butter and poppy seeds for an idea that fits well plus adds a nice yet simple thought.
The little touches of vinegar and flour round out the texture and add extra depth, and caraway seeds were a common thread in all the recipes and are subtle and beautiful in this rich soup. 
I served this to a Hungarian crowd – starting with the Hungarian Creamy Kohlrabi Soup and if they hadn’t brought dessert I would have ended with Csusztatott Palacsinta, Hungarian “Slipped Pancakes” – what a feast!
Pictured: Hungarian Beef Goulash with Fettucine - served as a family meal

Light olive oil
1kg beef rump, cut into 2cm pieces
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced - halve them, remove the seeds and pith and dice the flesh
2 -3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tbsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp plain flour
400g can chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 fresh bay leaves, crumbled
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano – I use 2 tsp fresh when I can as well
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
Parsley and Caraway Seed Dumplings
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
40g cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 tsp caraway seeds
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
120ml milk – may need a little more depending on the flour
To serve - 250ml - 400ml Sour Cream

Hungarian Beef Goulash
Prepare all the ingredients ready for cooking – then you can move it along smoothly ready to simmer away for a few hours in advance.
Heat a good tbsp of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, add beef, in batches, adding oil every batch, and stir over medium-high heat until browned all over. Remove and set aside. 
Add 2 tbsp oil to pan, add onion, carrot, celery, capsicum and toss them well in the oil to coat the vegetables. Once they are sizzling and all covered in the oil turn the heat to low and put the lid on, and let the vegetables sweat a good 8 minutes or so, til they are soft. Add the garlic a few minutes after you have turned the heat to low to make sure it will not burn. Add the sweet and hot paprika as well as the cayenne pepper and stir until well combined, then add vinegar and cook for 1 minute or until evaporated. 
Return the meat to the pan – add the flour and combine the mix well as the flour cooks off in the pan. This is to thicken the soup a little by the end.
Add the tin of tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste and bay leaf, half the marjoram and caraway seeds. Stir until well combined. 
Bring to the boil over high heat, then cook, uncovered, over low heat for 2 hours or longer until the meat is very tender and the soup has thickened nicely. If it is becoming too thick place a lid on top. Season to taste after an hour, and check this again at the end.
You can fridge the soup at this stage ready to warm up with the dumplings at a later time. Make the dumplings on the day of serving however. 
If you are preparing the soup for serving place it in a large casserole dish for the oven – a wide flat one preferably to be able to spread out the dumplings on top. Sprinkle with the remaining marjoram and caraway seeds and prepare the dumplings.
Parsley and Caraway Seed Dumplings –
In a large bowl – add the flour and a pinch of salt, add the butter to this and with your fingertips rub the butter into the flour til it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
Stir in the caraway seeds and parsley and make a well in the centre.
Add the milk, and mix very gently with a cutting action – use a flat-bladed knife – until the mixture comes together in beads. You do not want to over-work this, just bring it together carefully. Once you can gather it up – flour a surface, lay the dough on top and roll the dough into a thick log – divide it into 12 portions or so and roll into balls – they should not be larger than the size of a golf ball. Place them in a bowl covered with cling film until ready to warm the soup and serve.
Ready to warm and serve
If the soup has cooled too much or you have kept it in the fridge you will need to warm it up before adding the dumplings as the bottom half will not cook correctly if they are added to a cold dish.
Preheat your oven to 200 °C/400 °F/Gas 6.
Place the casserole dish with the soup in the middle shelf, once the soup has warmed up, not hot but warm – add the dumplings and cook a further 20 minutes til the dumplings are golden and the soup bubbling – if the dumplings aren’t browning nicely near the end of the cooking time turn the heat up for the last 5 minutes or place the dish on a higher shelf.
Serve in the middle of the table with a large ladle and the sour cream ready to dollop on top and mix through.
Serves 6