Gulyas in Hungary and goulash in the U.S. are two very different kettles of meat. The Hungarian version was originally a soup; the American version is almost always a stew. Cooks of Hungarian heritage in Ohio like to serve their goulash alongside sauerkraut—a fabulous blend of flavors, with the sauerkraut cutting the richness of the stew. The following “Hungarian” goulash is the finest I’ve tasted in the U.S.
makes 6 servings
2 1/4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2″ cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika (or you can substitute a blend of supermarket paprika and cayenne pepper)
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup tomato purée
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for garnish
4 1/2 cups sauerkraut
1. Place the beef in a large bowl, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss with the flour.
2. Place a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add half the beef (leaving behind any excess flour) to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a bowl. Wipe out the Dutch oven, and repeat with 2 tablespoons oil and the remaining beef.
3. Wipe out the Dutch oven, return to high heat, and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Return the beef to the Dutch oven. Pour in the chicken broth, wine, and tomato purée and bring to just short of a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the beef is somewhat tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Uncover the Dutch oven, raise the heat slightly, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender and the liquid has thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the caraway and the 2 tablespoons of sour cream, and cook for 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. While the sour cream and caraway are cooking into the stew, heat the sauerkraut in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Divide the goulash and sauerkraut among 6 wide soup bowls, serving them side-by-side, and garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.