Mar 262012

When I was growing up, despite being immersed in Hungarian cookery, no one in the family ever made Hungarian Goulash. I guess it wasn’t part of the Northern Hungarian cuisine.

When Jared and Izabella went to Hungary a couple of years ago, Jared had Gulyas cooked over an open fire at the farm of Izabella’s uncle. The next Christmas, Jared asked for a Bogracs (cooking pot) and a tripod, which he received. We finally tried it out with Jared and Izabella making us Gulyas Leves just as Izabella’s family made it in Romania. The recipe is a bit loose so adjust the quantities according to your taste. You don’t have to cook it over a fire (but that’s the fun part), a pot on the stove will work , but you’ll lose the smokey flavor that comes from the fire. Enjoy!

Gulyas Leves (Goulash Soup)

Prep Time: PT1/2H

Cook Time: PT2-3H

Total Time: 3 hours


  • 5 or 6 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp.caraway seeds
  • Olive or Canola oil
  • 1-2 lbs. of beef roast, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika or more (Don't skimp!)
  • Water
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 4 or 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 or 2 parsley roots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, tied together
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. of potatoes, peeled and cubed


  1. Cook the bacon in the pot over high heat until the grease starts to render.
  2. Add the onion, parsley root, garlic, and caraway seeds and cook for a couple minutes until the onion begins to brown.
  3. Add the meat and brown on all sides, adding a bit of oil if necessary.
  4. Remove from heat and cover with thin layer of paprika and stir (IMPORTANT!!! Heating the paprika too much will cause it to turn bitter, so make sure to remove the pot from the heat. Don't skimp on the paprika, it is what makes this dish red and gives it its flavor)
  5. Add water to cover the ingredients and place back on heat.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add the small bunch of parsley, tied for easy removal later, and the bay leaves.
  8. Add the carrots.
  9. Cook for 2-3 hours.
  10. Finally add potatoes and cook until the potatoes are done.
  11. Remove parsley and bay leaves and serve.


Can be served with hot Hungarian peppers added as a garnish.

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