Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hungarian goulash

My weekly post on the Hungary starts here blog:

Let's continue our travel to the rich world of Hungarian flavors. I'm sure if you hear that Hungarian culinary, you immediately associate it with the paprika, goulash, goulash soup and bogrács goulash. Actually do you know what's the different between the goulash and the goulash soup and what is the exactly meaning of goulash and bogrács?
Well, as you know goulash, we call it "gulyás",pronounced "goo-yash" is our traditional spicy beef dish, the gulyás word originally means herdsman, while bogrács means the big pot over the open wood fire.

Bean goulash
originally uploaded by Hungaro phantasto

Our "bogrács" word is Ottoman Turk of origin "bakrac" means copper-kettle and the use of the stew-pot is originated in the nomad civilization. (More photos about bogrács you can see here.)

The authentic Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew, it is somewhere in between.

Goulash was a very popular dish among herdsmen in Hungary and of course they made it in bogrács. The popularity this peasant dish due to development of our national conscious. The Hungarians felt their cultural identity was threatened by the far-reaching reforms of the Holy Roman emperor and Hungarian King Joseph II, which were implemented after his mother's death in 1780. As the result from the second half of 18th century that every Hungarian thing (culture, language, folk dance, foods and beverages) came to have significance for them to protest against the Germanized politics. The Hungarians wanted to assert their independence, the national characteristic of the Magyars, everywhere, even in their gastronomy, and so goulash became highly fashionable. The dish that had until then been eaten only by herdsmen using wooden spoons and from a shared kettle, was now served in the manor houses at elegant tables bedecked with porcelain and silver cutlery. And from there it moved on - or perhaps we should say back - to the simple folk outside the Great Plain, where it finally became common property.

Restaurants started to put goulash on their menus too and by the second half of the 20th century the soup became the most popular dish of Hungary.

There are several other Hungarian dishes with goulash in their name, for example székely goulash (goulash with sauerkraut), bab goulash (goulash with bean), palóc gulyás (goulash with green bean). (I'll tell about them next time.)

In the beginning of November the weather is already too cold to cook in outside, but don't worry! Just follow my instructions step by step and use a big pot in your well heated kitchen, like me :)

originally uploaded by Nora


60-70 dkg beef shoulder (or pork leg if you don't like beef), 2 tablespoons oil, 2 medium chopped onions, 3 carrots, 1 turnip, 1/2 celery, 1-2 celery leafs, parsley, 1 medium tomato, 1 fresh green pepper, 4-5 medium sliced potatoes, 1 and 1/2 tablespoon Hungarian red paprika powder, 1 teaspoon ground caraway seed, ground black pepper and salt to taste, water, you may add Hungarian paprika creams (pirosarany and gulyáskrém, if you have)

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and the sliced onions and sauté until they get a nice golden brown color. Add the beef cube and sauté together until the meat begin to whiten. Sprinkle them with paprika powder and sauté a bit more.

2. Add the ground caraway seed, some salt and ground black pepper, pour water enough to cover the content of the pan and let it simmer on low heat for the meat is half-cooked. Add the diced vegetables, the celery leaf, and parsley and some more salt if necessary and add some more (2-3 cups) water too.

3. When the vegetables and the meat are almost tender add the sliced potatoes, in half sliced tomato and green pepper. Let it cook until the potatoes are also soften.

If you like "csipetke" (Hungarian salt pinched dumpling) make it and put it into your soup! Here you can see my csipetke recipe.

This was my recipe, but better if you know there are no two Hungarians who cook the goulash soup in the same way. Here is another version:

Please send us how successful was your first own goulash attempt!
Have a good cooking!

No comments: