One of America’s Favorites – Goulash

November 10, 2014 at 6:27 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Gulyás in a traditional "bogrács"

Gulyás in a traditional “bogrács”

Goulash (Hungarian: gulyás) is a soup or stew of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other spices. Originating from the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, goulash is also a popular meal in Central Europe, Scandinavia and Southern Europe.

Its origin traces back to the 9th century. The cooked and flavored meat was dried with the help of the sun and packed into bags produced from sheep’s stomachs, needing only water to make it into a meal. It is one of the national dishes of Hungary and a symbol of the country.

 

 

 

 

The name originates from the Hungarian “gulyás” [ˈɡujaːʃ] ( listen). The word “gulya” means “herd of cattle” in Hungarian, and “gulyás” means “herdsman”.

The word gulyás originally meant only “herdsman”, but over time the dish became gulyáshús (goulash meat) – that is to say, a meat dish which was prepared by herdsmen. Today, gulyás refers both to the herdsmen, and to the soup. From the Middle Ages until well into the 19th century, the Puszta was the home of massive herds of cattle. They were driven, in their tens of thousands, to Europe’s biggest cattle markets in Moravia, Vienna, Nuremberg and Venice. The herdsmen made sure that there were always some cattle that had to be slaughtered along the way, the flesh of which provided them with gulyáshús.

In Hungarian cuisine, traditional “Gulyásleves” (literally “goulash soup”), “bográcsgulyás”, pörkölt, and paprikás were thick stews made by cattle herders and stockmen. Garlic, tomato, caraway seed, bell pepper, and wine are optional. One may alternatively prepare these dishes as soups rather than stews. Excepting paprikás, the Hungarian stews do not rely on a flour or roux for thickening.

Goulash can be prepared from beef, veal, pork, or lamb. Typical cuts include the shank, shin, or shoulder; as a result, goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen, which is converted to gelatin during the cooking process. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, and then browned with sliced onion in a pot with oil or lard. Paprika is added, along with water or stock, and the goulash is left to simmer. After cooking a while, garlic, whole or ground caraway seed, or soup vegetables like carrot, parsley root, peppers (green or bell pepper), celery and a small tomato may be added. Other herbs and spices could also be added, especially chili pepper, bay leaf and thyme. Diced potatoes may be added, since they provide starch as they cook, which makes the goulash thicker and smoother. A small amount of white wine or wine vinegar may also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste. Goulash may be served with small egg noodles called csipetke. The name Csipetke comes from pinching small, fingernail-sized bits out of the dough (csipet =pinch) before adding them to the boiling soup.

 

 

 

Hungarian Gulyásleves, Goulash soup

Hungarian Gulyásleves, Goulash soup

Hungarian goulash variations

* Gulyás à la Székely. Reduce the potatoes and add sauerkraut and sour cream.
* Gulyás Hungarian Plain Style. Omit the homemade soup pasta (csipetke) and add vegetables.
* Mock Gulyás. Substitute beef bones for the meat and add vegetables. Also called Hamisgulyás, (Fake Goulash)
* Bean Gulyás. Omit the potatoes and the caraway seeds. Use kidney beans instead.
* Csángó Gulyás. Add sauerkraut instead of pasta and potatoes.
* Betyár Gulyás. Use smoked beef or smoked pork for meat.
* Likócsi Pork Gulyás. Use pork and thin vermicelli in the goulash instead of potato and soup pasta. Flavor with lemon juice.
* Mutton Gulyás or Birkagulyás. Made with mutton. Add red wine for flavour.
A thicker and richer goulash, similar to a stew, originally made with three kinds of meat, is called Székely gulyás, named after the Hungarian writer, journalist and archivist József Székely (1825–1895).

Paprikás krumpli
“Paprikás krumpli” is a traditional paprika-based potato stew with diced potatoes, onion, tomato, bell peppers, ground paprika and some bacon or sliced spicy sausage, like the smoked Debrecener, in lieu of beef.

In German-speaking countries this inexpensive peasant stew is made with sausage and known as Kartoffelgulasch (“potato goulash”)

 

 

Venison goulash with apples, berries and potato croquettes

Venison goulash with apples, berries and potato croquettes

 

Thick stews similar to pörkölt and the original cattlemen stew are popular throughout almost all the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire, from Northeast Italy to the Carpathians. Like pörkölt, these stews are generally served with boiled or mashed potato, polenta, dumplings (e.g. nokedli, or galuska), spätzle or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.
American goulash, mentioned in cookbooks since at least 1914, exists in a number of variant recipes. Originally a dish of seasoned beef, core ingredients of American goulash now usually include elbow macaroni, cubed steak, ground beef or hamburger, and tomatoes in some form, whether canned whole, as tomato sauce, tomato soup, and/or tomato paste.

 

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