Hungarian Goulash


Our best family holidays were those when we went skiing. When it’s cold and icy I reminisce about those days. The one memory that always finds favour is the holiday that Brian so desperately wanted goulash. This particular trip we took late in the season which meant it was warmer on the slopes and the restaurants were not serving goulash anymore. We always went on these holidays with family friends Pam, Trevor and the kids. Trevor is an incredible organizser. On this particular morning he had decided to take us all across the mountains to another ski resort next door. We were to pay attention because at a critical point the slope split left. At that split we were on our way to the next village. If we missed the split in the route, we would circle back to our original starting point and that would take another two hours to repeat. If you have been skiing, you will appreciate we all have different styles and means of getting down the slopes. Some of us traverse slowly and some of us fly like bullets down the hill. Mostly we all meat up at various points along the way and continue to the next resting point. At the critical split, which Brian didn’t realize was coming up, he flew like an unguided missile down the slopes when, the rest of the party of 8 peeled off to the left. We all screamed and shouted at Brian, but it was too late, there was no way he could get back to us. He didn’t even hear us we discovered later.

We continued on to the next village, by now it was lunch time and we were all ravenous. Goulash was on the menu and it was delicious.

Deliciously hearty and satisfying Hungarian Goulash (pronounced Goo Yash)

On arriving back to South Africa I decided I would have to make goulash for Brian. I googled it and trusted the first recipe I found. From then on goulash was named Google’ash in our home. I have made it countless times and with different cuts of meat, from ostrich to beef and lamb. They all work, but the best cut to use by far is beef shin. When I decided to make it again this year, I went in search of the recipe. I hunted and hunted and couldn’t find it anywhere. I was devastated as this was my go-to recipe and it was a winner every time. I tried to google it again, but by now the internet has been flooded with millions more options. Angry at myself, I said “come on Jacque!!!!!” how many times have you made this? Surely you can remember what you did?” Slowly the ingredients came back to me.

If you don’t feel like crusty bread try this with my creamy polenta.

Hungarian Goulash

Servings 10
Cook Time 4 hours


  • 1.3kg Hungarian Goulash meat beef shin is my favourite cut for this recipe
  •  2Tbls flour (not traditional but I like it)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shake of smoked paprika


  • 3Tbls olive oil
  • 2 onion chopped (370g)
  • 3 big garlic cloves chopped (17g)
  • 1 large carrot grated (150g)
  • 125g chopped bacon
  • 2Tbks smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbls Marjoram
  • 1 Tbls caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper ( optional if you like it hot but this is not traditional)
  • 2 Tbls tomato paste
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  •  600ml -1 litre beef stock or plain water. (1x Demi-glaze beef stock)  (Or 3 tomato tins of water)


  • 2 red / orange peppers (250g-300g ) peeled seeded and chopped
  •  4 potatoes peeled and chopped (650g)
  • Squeeze of 1/2 lemon


  • Dust the meat in the flour and seasoning
  • Pre cook meat
  • In a nonstick frying pan add enough olive oil to cover base of 28cm frying pan. Heat until hot. Place the goulash meat in the hot oil and sear until crisp and brown. Do this in 2 batches. The juices must be seared into the meat and not run into the pan and boil the meat. If this happens you will have dull grey tough meat. Do not overcrowd the pan. This could be another reason why the meat is boiling rather than searing. Set aside until needed


  • Place oil in large 28cm cast iron pot
  • Add onions and sweat until translucent for about 5 minutes put the lid on   Just make sure they don’t burn so turn down the heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the bacon and cook for 3 minutes
  • Add the grated carrot and stir to ensure it cooks through. Now add all the spices (Paprika, caraway seeds and marjoram and cayenne if you like a bit of heat ) and cook for 1 minute. 
  • Now add the meat and mix into the spiced vegetables along with the tomato paste, tomatoes and stock or water. Bring back up to heat put lid on
    Place in oven at 150°c for 2 hours. As an alternative you can leave the pot to gently simmer on gas or in a pizza oven or on an open fire that is a traditional potjie method that we favour in South Africa. Load shedding is real and we need to explore alternatives. Just pay attention to ensuring the base of the pot doesnt burn.


  • Add potatoes, red pepper and lemon
  • Return to oven for further hour or 2 adjust seasoning or as long as it takes for meat to be soft. Shin is a tougher cut that requires long and slow cooking. Once tender, I like to cut the meat into smaller pieces that are easy to eat with a soup spoon.
    Check seasoning serve with crusty bread and fresh red pepper and chilli and a spoon of full fat yoghurt. This also works very well served on top of parmesan polenta.


Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hungarian
Keyword: Goulash

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