Goulash is very popular throughout Central Europe, and is a real comfort food, made at home and offered at some restaurants and pubs. Its origins are from Hungary, but the recipe takes on many forms, depending on where it is made. In this post, I’d like to share a goulash from the city of Znojmo in the South Moravian Region of Czech Republic. Znojmo is quite close to the Austrian border. Its main difference from other types of Czech-style goulash is the addition of chopped pickles. When selecting pickles for this dish, choose ones that are sweet-sour in flavor. Gherkins usually fit this category. I use pickles I find at a local Polish deli in my country (US), but I have also found suitable pickles at my local grocery store. It happens to be my personal favorite type of goulash!
- 2 pounds (~1 kg) beef stew cubes (beef shank or chuck)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (like canola) or lard
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 4 teaspoons sweet paprika (Hungarian or Hungarian style)
- A couple dashes of ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 clove of garlic, mashed
- 1 heaping tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Approximately 3-4 cups water or beef broth (or a combination)
- 3 to 4.5 oz (100-125 g) or 2/3 to 3/4 cup sweet-sour type pickles, finely chopped, as desired
In a medium-large stew pot or Dutch oven, fry onion in oil (or lard) until golden. Add paprika and beef cubes, cutting any very large cubes in half, if necessary. Brown meat on medium high heat, taking care not to burn paprika. Add the remaining seasonings, and then just enough water or beef broth to cover meat. Cover pot and simmer meat until tender (approx. 1.5 to 2 hours), adding a little bit more liquid, only if necessary.
Uncover pot and boil until almost all liquid evaporates. Dust with flour; stir on low heat for 1 or 2 mins. Add about 1 to 1 ½ cups more water or beef broth, and simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid has thickened into a sauce (should not be watery like a soup, but still have ample gravy to cover dumplings (or other starchy side). Add chopped pickles during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serves 4 large to 6 medium to small portions.
In Czech Republic, a very common starchy side for many dishes, including goulash, are bread dumplings (houskový knedlík). They look a little like hockey pucks and are soft and bread-like with small bits of cubed bread or roll (usually houska) inside. They are perfect for saucy meals, like goulash. If you’d like to give them a try, click Czech Bread Dumplings – Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) Style to see the recipe. There are also descriptions of other dishes they are often paired with. If you’re in a rush, or don’t wish to experiment making them, consider serving this goulash with rye bread, boiled potatoes, or wide egg noodles, as an alternative.
Unless you’ve sworn off of alcohol, you MUST enjoy your goulash with a good-quality beer like one of the ones pictured below.