Inspiration: While we were in Europe, Brandon and I tried goulash for the first (and second) times. We had our first bowl on a rainy day at a cozy, wooden-floored restaurant outside Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, and we tried a second bowl in a dark little diner up in the Alps in Austria. Both bowls were amazing and very similar to one another, with sauce that was thick like a stew and very finely minced pieces of meat and veggies. Since we’ve been home, I’ve tried another goulash recipe that I wasn’t satisfied with and have since been looking to find one that reminded me of our experience in Europe.
What we Loved: While this doesn’t completely replicate our experience with German/Austrian goulash in presentation (since it has much larger pieces of meat and vegetables throughout the dish), I think that the flavor is very close. I can’t remember the flavors of the European goulash precisely enough to do an exact comparison, but I can say that I remember falling in love with the goulash there because of the rich, complex flavors, and I fell in love with this recipe for the same reasons. While this simmered on my stove, my house smelled absolutely amazing. The flavors of the bacon, onions, peppers, tomatoes, paprika, and beef melded together for a rich and complex stew that was so comforting on a dark winter night. The sauce was thick and creamy, and the beef really did melt apart in your mouth. I’d list this as my current favorite stew.
Helpful Hints: This really starts out looking like a soup, so don’t be alarmed when the recipe looks nothing like the above picture at first. The stew gets thicker and richer the longer that you cook it. I would recommend cooking for as long as possible, as long as you keep the pot at a very low simmer.
Source: Tyler Florence
I modified the recipe to suit my preferences. Here’s the recipe as I made it.
6 slices bacon, chopped
3 pounds beef shank, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled and diced
3 heaping tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
3 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1. Place a large pot over medium heat, and add the bacon pieces. Saute until crisp. Remove to a paper towel and reserve.
2. Add the beef to the pot in batches, browning it on all sides. Season generously with salt and pepper while cooking. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
3. Add the onions and roasted peppers to the pot. Stir, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and let cook until the vegetables are slightly softened.
4. Return the beef and bacon to the pot, and then mix in the garlic, paprika, and caraway. Stir to incorporate.
4. Stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, and beef broth (do this relatively quickly after you mix in the spices - you don’t want the paprika in the pot to burn). Bring the pot to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook uncovered for approximately 5-6 hours, until the sauce is thick like a stew. Stir occasionally.
5. Stir the sour cream into the goulash just before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.