Peter’s Isolation Goulasch

by Diane Duane
Peter's Isolation Goulasch

(Appearing here because his own site is down for restructuring at the moment.)

Himself says:

This is a “what was available in the house” reduction from my main goulash recipe, based on a combination of Gyorg Lang, Karoly Gundel, a few Hungarian things run through Google Translate and some tweaks by me…


  • 2 tbs lard or sunflower/corn/ ordinary olive oil. (Not Extra Virgin, you’re wasting it.)
  • 2 large onions, chopped coarsely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds, crushed (mince the garlic and caraway together with rocking knife technique – the sticky garlic keeps the seeds from flying about. A bit, anyway.)
  • 1 lb / .5kg stewing beef in 1 inch / 30mm cubes (which is usually how it’s sold)
  • 3 tbsp Hungarian paprika,  if possible 1 tbsp Hot, 2 tbsp Sweet (or 2 tbsp regular Supervalu paprika and 1 tbsp Cayenne. Don’t use smoked paprika unless using European sausage like kabanossi or kielbasa instead of beef, then go for it, the result is yummy.)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes and ½ tin water
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and cubed
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed


Melt the lard in a heavy pot and sweat the onions until soft, glossy and turning golden. Add the garlic and caraway and stir-fry for a few more minutes. Add the beef and stir-fry until all the cubes have changed colour.

Remove from the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes, then add the paprika (paprika + excess heat = bitterness.) Stir well together, add the tomatoes and water, return to the heat, bring to a very gentle simmer, cover and leave for about 2 hours.

Check the beef for tenderness. It should be at the “a bit more will be perfect” stage, so add the pepper and potatoes and give it a bit more; about 20 minutes should do.

Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream (ours was 30% fat Lithuanian from Eurospar, delish!) over buttered noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, tarhonya (Hungarian “egg barley”, a very small pasta similar to orzo)…

Or what we did tonight: “Bratkartoffel” – potatoes cut into ½ inch dice and slowly pan-fried until crunchy outside and soft inside, then sprinkled with salt and pepper. We finished ours in the oven – 20 mins at 180° C/ 355° F – for less greasiness; NB that this also makes a great snack by itself (try sprinkling with curry powder, spice bag mix, sea salt & cider vinegar, whatever) and using the oven makes them far less trouble than deep-frying home-made chips.

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