I know that it’s getting warmer (especially in DC) and generally stew types meals are more appropriate in the winter, but I just recently got a hold of some Hungarian paprika (thank you Whole Foods) and so was finally able to make goulash, a popular dish in Europe and generally found in Hungary. Which I’ve been dreaming about ever since I studied abroad. My friends and I went to Prague for a weekend, the best time is if you’re coming from the UK to enjoy the city breaks to Prague. We both had the best and worst food experiences there. The street food that we had was amazing (goulash included) and luckily one night we found a local pub and that was a true gem. 1 euro beers (and these weren’t PBRs), cheap soups and entrees – we feasted – all under the price of 10 euros. The next night was a real food disaster though. We had been wandering around the city looking for one of the restaurants marked in our “Top Ten Prague” book (thanks for nothing) when finally we decided we were too hungry and would just eat at the first place we found. Well this place just so happened to have picture menus – without any prices. We figured after the jackpot we hit the previous night this place could not be that expensive. So we ordered all the regular food – which did not even look spectacular in the photos – had ourselves an ok meal – food was not fantastic, and then we got the bill… What a shock. 40-50 euros a person for barely mediocre food? How could this be? Well… it just so happened that we were right around the corner from the Charles bridge – basically the biggest tourist attraction in Prague. And we just hadn’t known. And since we weren’t expecting to pay so much for our meal – none of us had enough cash – so as the 3 of us sat there speechless and dumbfounded as to how we were just weaseled out of our money – our friend L was running around the city looking for an ATM. We were all so disappointed with ourselves that we didn’t even go out that night – we just returned to our rented apartment and put ourselves to sleep – hoping to have better food luck the next day.
As I’m sure you can tell, there are a lot of memories to choose from that weekend in Prague – but I’ve decided to tightly hold on to the good ones – the memories of the goulash I had there (for one). And here is my attempt to recreate it. I strongly suggest you find yourself some Hungarian paprika and do the same. O and whatever you do, do not eat at a restaurant that’s right next to a major tourist attraction…especially when the picture menu has no prices… : /
Recipe Adapted from June Meyer
Goulash - a classic Hungarian dish. Like beef stew but with even more flavor and a kick from the Hungarian paprika. Perfect on a cold winter night,
30 minPrep Time
120 minCook Time
2 hr, 30 Total Time
- 2 pounds stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 2-3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 cups water (depending on how soupy you want it)
- 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Toss beef pieces with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
- Over medium heat brown onions in the shortening. Add meat and paprika. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 60-90 minutes.
- Add water, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked through and meat is soft.
- **If you want a thicker goulash mix some cornstarch with 1/4 cup reserved broth, until smooth and add back to the pan.