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, parsnip, 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 nameCsipetke comes from pinching small, fingernail-sized bits out of the dough (csip =pinch) before adding them to the boiling soup.
Hungarian goulash varieties
- Gulyás Hungarian Plain Style. Omit the home made 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 and rice 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. Flavour 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A thicker and richer goulash, similar to a stew, originally made with three kinds of meat, is called Székely gulyás, named after the Hungarian writer, journalist and archivist József Székely (1825–1895).
Some cookbooks suggest using roux with flour to thicken the goulash, which produces a starchy texture and a blander taste. Others suggest using a vast amount of tomatoes for colour and taste. A small amount of tomatoes in the stock that is used, or a drop of tomato purée, may improve the taste and texture, but the original goulash is a paprika-based dish and the taste of tomatoes should not be discernible. Many Hungarian chefs consider tomatoes to be absolutely forbidden in goulash and they also feel that if they cook a stew instead of a soup, it should only be thickened by finely chopped potatoes, which must be simmered along with the meat.
Hungarian goulash soup recipe:http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/hungariansoups/r/gulyasleves.htm