goulash: a new favourite

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recipe: goulash

SAVEUR Magazine comes through again!

(click on images for larger views and more photos)

goulash SAVEUR magazine is constantly thrilling us by giving us the most wonderful ideas. Interestingly, I completely ignored the goulash recipe in the October 2006 edition when I read through the magazine. Silly me.

saveur magazine I mean really; look how appetizing the photograph is!! But I thought I didn’t really care about goulash. Why? I’d had goulash a couple of times before. And it was good but not something I would have energetically sought out to have again.

However, luckily for me, T was leafing through the magazine the other day and announced that we would try the ozpörkölt (Venison Goulash). But with pork rather than venison. And who am I to argue? Because whenever T is excited about making a new dish, it’s bound to be good.

We would have tried the goulash with venison if we had easy access to venison. But I can’t say that I remember seeing venison at the butcher shop – and no doubt it would be on the pricey side. Pork, on the other hand, is readily available and not horrendously expensive.

Naturally, we didn’t have all the other ingredients either but T improvised. The recipe called for Merlot, hot Hungarian paprika and green pepper. We didn’t have Merlot; we only had good robust Sangiovese. And we only had sweet Hungarian paprika and Thai chillies on hand. So T threw in Thai chilies for heat and the fresh pepper flavour. (Next time we might use banana peppers.)

And did our goulash taste correct? Well, we thought so. But then we’re not Hungarian…. Whether it was correct or not, it was phenomenal. The first night we served it with mashed (another mark against us! I hope the Hungarian goulash police don’t come after us… :whee:) rather than steamed parsleyed potatoes as suggested in the recipe. Delicious!!

rolling pasta And a couple of nights later, T pulled out all the stops and made egg noodles. (click on photo to see more photos of noodle making)

He tossed the noodles in butter and toasted poppy seeds. Goulash with noodles and steamed green beans is even MORE delicious!! And a couple of nights later (it makes a LOT of stew!), we served the stew with mashed potatoes and steamed beets with toasted dill seed: still absolutely delicious!!

So delicious that if we had tried goulash last month, I think it might have been my entry for WTSIM… stew! rather than Chicken with Prunes & Apricots. Of course, Chicken with Prunes & Apricots is still a favourite. But now goulash is too.

Here is T’s take on the recipe for ozpörkölt in SAVEUR (Oct.2006):

based on recipe in SAVEUR (Oct.2006)

  • 2 lbs pork (we used butt chops)
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ¼ lb bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1½ Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp grainy mustard
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 8 whole juniper berries
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 c red wine
  • 7 Thai chilies, finely chopped
  • Water to cover
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • pinch sugar, optional


  1. Brown pork butt chops well in olive oil.
  2. In another pan, cook bacon and onions together until well browned. Add garlic toward the end so it gets golden.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a pot. Add water to almost cover and cook for 1 hour or until almost perfectly tender. Add red wine and cook for another hour or so. Pull meat away from the bone.
  4. Best to cook this in the morning and let it rest until evening.

Serve with potatoes or egg noodles and crusty bread. Beets and/or green beans are also very good accompaniments. Don’t hesitate to serve a glass of good hearty red wine as well.


Did you remember to have shroves yesterday? We didn’t… we were too busy stuffing our faces with risotto. Remind me to report on it.
This entry was posted in 'Saveur' Magazine review, cookbooks, etc., food & drink, main course, posts with recipes on by .

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6 responses to “goulash: a new favourite

  1. Kate

    Wow….that sounds marvelous! And so many variations! I love it when a meal can be extended like that.

    I always have to laugh when I see ‘pork butt’ because I have such a warped sense of humor over stuff like that. In culinary school, whenever my instructor would talk about seasoning a pork roast, he would say “We’ll rub up our butts really well.” complete with appropriate visual cues. It never fails to make me giggle.

  2. ejm Post author

    That’s the beauty of stew, isn’t it, Kate? We usually make lots so that we can get several dinners out of it. We take great pleasure in noting how much the meat was and calculating the cost of each dinner.

    As I recall, we paid $6 for that pork butt (snickering at the culinary school instructor) and got three and a half dinners for two out of it. Not bad to pay around $1 each for such fabulous fare!!

  3. Di

    Love making goulash in my crockpot and letting all those flavors simmer. Never thought of putting juniper berries in it and will have to try your recipe. Excellent site……….thanks for sharing…di

    Edit: No problem, Di, glad you like the idea of the juniper berries. Do let me know how you like it! -ejm

  4. joe

    I am looking for a truly Hungarian goulash receipe. I have been lookin for some time, yours may be fine but it has way too many things in it. The region goulash I am looking for is around Budapest. Thanks

  5. ejm Post author

    Goulash is often called pörkölt in Hungary, which means “stewed”. Or at least that’s what it says at the top of the SAVEUR recipe we based our goulash on.

    The SAVEUR recipe is based on a winery recipe from about 90 miles downstream of the Danube from Budapest (near Dec). Roger Morris, who wrote the SAVEUR October 2006 (#96) article, travelled to Hungary to get the recipe.

    I’m pretty sure that if you leave out the Thai chilies and use hot Hungarian paprika instead of sweet paprika, add some sweet green peppers, use venison instead of pork, and Hungarian merlot, it will become pretty close to being truly Hungarian….

    But if this particular recipe has too many ingredients for you, Joe, I’m suspecting that as long as you include Hungarian paprika in whatever goulash you make, it will probably come out tasting “truly Hungarian”. Good luck in your search.


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