Heirloom German Goulash Recipe

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Mitzi’s German Goulash is a family heirloom recipe that is the essence of simplicity and rusticity. You can make it with just three ingredients: stewing beef, onions and seasonings.

You will never believe how just a few ingredients can turn into such a hearty flavorful dish. This goulash is perfect comfort food on those chilly spring nights. There are many variations of goulash and, in certain areas of Europe, it is considered a soup if it is served with bread. You can add potatoes or celery or carrots, but I like how intense the flavor is with fewer ingredients. That is the magic of the recipe. When Mitzi first served this goulash for me a few years ago, it was love at first bite.

This is the simplest recipe you will ever make, and, trust me, it is delicious. No need to brown the meat or the onions. This would make a great slow-cooker recipe – just increase the cooking time to 6 to 8 hours on low depending on the slow cooker. There is no need to use any oil.

Chef Notes:

  • Some people like to buy a whole cut of meat and break it down themselves for stewing meat. This way you are sure of what you are buying. What you buy at the grocery store is of the large variety of bits and pieces from various cuts or scraps. Often the pieces in the “stewing meat” packages are very uneven. If you buy your ow,n you can cut it into equal sized pieces that will cook evenly.

  • Cuts of meat vary across North America. Some of the suggested cuts are chuck, top chuck, rump roast top round, or outside round. You are looking for lean cuts that have collagen in them that break down through slow cooking to make the meat so tender.

  • Choose well-marbled meat for the best results. For deep flavour you need the fat to break down and add moisture over a long cooking time. If the meat is too lean, the goulash will be dry and tough.

  • Do not cut the pieces too small or they will dissolve in the goulash.

  • Make sure your pan has a heavy bottom and a tight fitting lid because this is what causes the steam and creates the juices for the sauce.

  • I use sweet onions, but you can use regular cooking onions. If you like, you can cut back on the onion.

  • You do not need to add wine if you do not want; the result is delicious just the same.

  • Make sure your paprika is fresh. Feel free to use smoked paprika if you prefer.

  • I serve this with fresh homemade bread or over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

  • This recipe keeps well in the fridge for two or three days, and in the freezer for up to a month. Remember to label and date your leftovers.

Mitzi’s German Goulash

2 pounds well-marbled stewing beef cut into even-sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds onions, sliced (I use the sweet variety)
2 or 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons paprika

Cut the beef into even sized pieces for even cooking; season with salt and pepper.

Place the meat and the onions in a medium heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, and place lid on top.

Bring to a gentle boil and let simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often to prevent scorching. Check to see if enough liquid is being generated by the steam. If not, add water or wine.

If desired, you can add carrots during the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Thirty minutes before the goulash is done, add paprika.

Serving Recommendations: I serve this with cayenne pepper on the side and fresh homemade bread or over egg noodles.

Beverage Recommendation: Cabernet or Merlot or a Cold glass of German Beer

Chef Elizabeth