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Hungarian Goulash

4 to 6 Servings

2¾ hours 1 hour active

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Hungary’s national dish, goulash—or gulyás in Hungarian—has countless variations. Some are soupy; others thick and meaty. Our version takes inspiration from Tibor Rosenstein, chef/owner of Rosenstein restaurant in Budapest, whose unique method makes for a deeply flavorful stew. He incorporates the cooking liquid and spices in stages, allowing them to reduce between additions and concentrate into a complex, velvety sauce. Root vegetables are a must; their sweet notes balance all the beefy richness. We opted for celery root—also known as celeriac—which has a parsnip-like texture and earthy, celery-like flavor. As is the case with many Hungarian dishes, paprika—both hot and sweet—is a key seasoning; be sure the paprika you use for this is fresh, fragrant and vibrant in color. Hungarian red pepper paste, usually made with sweet and spicy peppers, plus acetic acid, also is essential. We approximate this by pureeing a few easy-to-source ingredients.

4 to 6



Don’t cook the stew too gently. And don’t cover it during simmering. The pot is uncovered for the entire time, allowing the liquid to reduce as the meat becomes tender and the flavors concentrate to create a rich and complex dish.

2¾ hours

1 hour active


  • ½

    cup drained jarred roasted red peppers

  • 1

    tablespoon lemon juice


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Karen H.
January 27, 2024
We made this mostly as written, but used bell peppers and added carrots with the potatoes. It was our first time not browning meat for a braise, and it was a huge success! The sauce was rich and silky, gorgeously dark brown (from the paprika?). As others noted, this was pretty much hands-off after the initial effort. Will definitely make this one again.
David E.
January 26, 2024
Following up
I'm embarrassed I complained about tough beef when it had nothing to do with the recipe. It was simply a matter of not using a certain kind of 100% grass-fed beef. I recommend for all stews (and long-cooking cuts like brisket) beef that is grass-fed but FINISHED on grain. The texture of the beef the second time I made this was succulent at the suggested cooking time. The flavor was phenomenal. Again I smoked and peeled my own red pepper, which is really fun if you have the equipment, and I used Penzy's Hungarian sweet paprika as well as a half-sharp paprika blend. Everything worked perfectly and the dish was even better the next day--although not better enough to suggest you put off eating (and inhaling the paprika aroma of) the dish on day one.
David E.
January 6, 2024
This is worth the time. I made the extra effort and roasted my own red peppers (using a Turkish stovetop device I bought from Milk Street) and the flavors were amazingly vivid. The timing was tricky, though. After three hours, my beef was still a little tough. The problem might have been that I used 100% grade-fed beef, which (for all the environmental benefits) tends to be drier and tougher. Even with a 4 hour cook I disliked the texture. Next time I'm going to use fattier chuck that's at least finished with corn... Noodles would be a wonderful accompaniment or a sourdough loaf.
Mary O.
December 28, 2023
Delicious on a cold day
The recipe is a lot easier than it seems because there are 30 minute periods of just letting it cook, then re adding paprika and stock and same thing. So it was easy to make and do other things. I like a soupier goulash like we had in Budapest so I went heavier with water and chicken stock. Also they used carrots there so I also added carrots with the potatoes at the end. It was so delicious and satisfying. I served with yogurt, lemon slices and dill on the side to add as you wanted to offset the richness. It went great with some crusty bread to get up every last bit of goodness. Will definitely make again.