The Hungarian Goulash Recipe

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These are some heady times in our Valley. Reflections, observations and at times, body-numbing emptiness abound. There are few absolutes in this world, but I'm sure of this one: a thoughtful meal with friends at the table helps everything, always.

One of my co-workers shared this gem. "It's hard to be sad when you have really good cheese in your mouth". True enough, if only for a moment.

When my wife was comforting a friend, she asked if there was anything we could do. It's a simple enough and an almost rote statement when face-to-face with the grieving. The surprise was that he said, yes, you could do something: "get me your husband's goulash recipe."

Here you go, my Hungarian Goulash recipe scaled down for the home cook. I'll even go one step further. If you run into trouble or need any cooking advice, call me on my home number: 496-7646. Yes, we still have a landline.

Thank you to everyone who helps make this place the greatest home I could have ever imagined.

Gather up these ingredients and a large heavy pot with a lid.

  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 3 lbs. pork, cut into 1.5" pieces. The loin is okay but the shoulder is best. Call the meat department at Mehuron's ahead of time and they'll cut it up for you.
  • 1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika - the best comes from Szeged Hungary and Mehuron's stocks it.
  • 1 teaspoon of hot Hungarian paprika. Substitute cayenne if necessary but use less - it's hotter
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 can sauerkraut, drained
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 T dried whole leaf marjoram
  • sea salt to taste (I use about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • sour cream

Now do as I say:

  • Heat up the pan and brown the meat in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan
  • Sweat the onion in the oil until translucent, add the paprika and cook an additional 60 seconds. This should pick up the nice browned bits of pork on your pan. We're building flavor, always building flavor.
  • Add browned meat to onion mixture, add stock, kraut and ketchup and simmer on stovetop until fork tender. Takes around 45 minutes. Use good judgment and don't rush it. Different cuts of pork take longer.
  • Add marjoram and salt and cook five more minutes.
  • Serve with sour cream, either mixed in or dollop on top.

This is a poor man's dish. It's more sauce and filler than meat. Don't be afraid to add a little more stock or water if you have it. Use good judgment. It's always better the second day and keeps for a week in the fridge so plan ahead. 

Gerry Nooney