0ld Fashioned Goulash

Old Fashioned Goulash, a classic Eastern European dish with a rich history, is a hearty and comforting meal, perfect for a cozy dinner. The recipe typically starts with high-quality beef, often chuck or round, cut into generous cubes. These pieces of meat are browned to perfection in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, creating a deep, caramelized flavor base.

Once the meat is browned, onions and garlic are added to the mix. These are sautéed until golden and fragrant, infusing the meat with their savory aromas. Bell peppers, sometimes a mix of red and green, are also tossed in, adding a sweet and slightly tangy note to the dish.

The next step is the addition of tomatoes, a critical ingredient in goulash. Canned diced tomatoes are commonly used, but some variations might include fresh tomatoes or tomato paste for a richer, more concentrated tomato flavor. The tomatoes lend a lovely acidity and brightness to the dish, balancing the richness of the meat.

Paprika, the signature spice of goulash, is then generously sprinkled in. Traditional recipes often call for Hungarian paprika, known for its distinctive sweet and smoky flavor. This spice not only gives goulash its characteristic deep red hue but also adds a layer of complex flavors. Other herbs and spices, like caraway seeds or bay leaves, might be added for additional depth.

Beef broth is usually poured in to cover the ingredients, transforming the mixture into a stew-like consistency. This mixture is then simmered, often for an hour or more, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully. The slow cooking process tenderizes the meat and infuses every bite with the rich spices and herbs.

Towards the end of cooking, elbow macaroni or another small pasta is often added directly into the pot, absorbing the savory broth and thickening the goulash. The pasta becomes tender and flavorful, making the dish more substantial and satisfying.

To finish, a sprinkle of fresh herbs like parsley can be added for a pop of color and freshness. The final dish is a harmonious blend of tender, flavorful meat, soft pasta, and a rich, paprika-infused sauce. It’s often served steaming hot, perhaps with a slice of crusty bread or a simple green salad on the side.

Old Fashioned Goulash, with its comforting flavors and hearty ingredients, is more than just a meal; it’s a time-honored tradition that brings warmth and satisfaction to any dinner table.


  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional for extra flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 3 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes, for serving


  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the beef stew meat with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the pot and brown on all sides. You may need to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Remove the browned meat and set it aside.
  3. In the same pot, add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, sweet paprika, smoked paprika (if using), caraway seeds, dried thyme, and bay leaves. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and spice mixture, stirring continuously to create a roux. Cook for another 2 minutes to remove the raw taste of the flour.
  6. Gradually add the beef broth and red wine (if using), stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  7. Return the browned beef to the pot and add the diced bell peppers and tomatoes. Stir well to combine.
  8. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded. Stir occasionally and add more broth if needed.
  9. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve the goulash over cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Enjoy your delicious old-fashioned goulash!

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