Authentic Hungarian Goulash

Try the Real Thing

By: - Feb 05, 2022

Recently I made my first attempt to create Hungarian Goulash.

I looked up recipes and watched several videos. Then with two kinds of paprika I concocted my own variation.

In Germany my wife Astrid grew up with goulash. So she was a very discerning judge.

The dish more than passed her muster and will indeed be repeated. Although next time we might have her version of goulash.

John Hochheimer was not amused. We met by email when I was writing the book Counterculture in Boston, 1968 to 1980s. As an undergraduate the Boston University he worked at WBUR which was experimenting with the free form radio of the master Uncle T. Hochheimer went on to a career in radio and media;

Below are the ‘authentic’ recipes he sent along.

.Genuine Hungarian Kettle Gulyas (Goulash)


2 medium-sized onions

2 Tablespoons Lard (I use Olive Oil. Others use diced smoked bacon)

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck or round, cut into 3/4 -inch cubes

1 garlic clove

Pinch of caraway seeds


2 Tablespoons Hungarian Paprika

1 medium-sized ripe tomato

2 green frying or Italian peppers

1 pound potatoes


  1. Peel onions and chop into coarse pieces. Melt fat in a heavy 6-8 quart dutch oven. Saute onions in fat. Keep heat low so as not to burn the onions.
  2. When onions are glossy, add beef. Stir so that during this part of the process (about 10 min.) the meat will be well sauteed with the onions.
  3. Chop and crush the garlic with the caraway seeds and salt. Use the flat side of a heavy knife to do this.
  4. Take the kettle off heat. Stir in paprika and the garlic/salt/caraway mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon. Immediately after paprika is absorbed, add 2 1/2 quarts warm water. (Don't use cold water; it will toughen the meat).
  5. Place the covered kettle over low heat and cook for 1 hour.
  6. While the braising is going on, peel the tomato, then cut into 1" pieces. Core the green peppers and slice into rings. Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4" dice.
  7. After the meat has braised for about an hour, add the cut-up tomato and green peppers and enough water to give the soup consistency. Add a little salt. Simmer slowly for another 30 min.
  8. Add potatoes and cook until done. Adjust salt. Add hot cherry pepper pods if you want to make the stew spicy hot.
  9. Serve the gulyas steaming hot in large extra-deep bowls. The meat should be tender, but not falling apart.


Chicken Pörkölt (I've also used pork which works great)

From George Lang's "Cuisine of Hungary"


Cook in a heavy pot. Also works great in an InstaPot.


1 Stewing Chicken (about 3 lbs. meat), Cut into pieces

3 medium-sized onions, diced

1 Tablespoon Lard (or Olive Oil ... any kind of fat will do)

1 Tablespoon Sweet Hungarian Paprika

1 Tablespoon Tomato puree

1 garlic clove, crushed in salt

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced

2 Bell Peppers (Green, red or yellow), diced


  1. Fry onions in fat until they are translucent
  2. Add chicken pieces, paprika, tomato puree, garlic and salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and diced peppers. (Note: I usually add a teaspoon of Hot Hungarian Paprika and a teaspoon of Gulyas Paste)
  4. Cook until chicken is done (about 20 minutes). Make sure it is not cooked in a lot of liquid, but steamed in its own juice and fat. When the chicken is done, only the "angry" red, rich sauce remains under the chicken.
  5. Serve with rice, egg noodles, dumplings, or potatoes. Have some sour cream on the side to taste.


Try it and let me know how you like it.