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Goulash is a spicy dish, originally from Hungary, usually made of beef, onions, red peppers, and paprika powder. Its name comes from Hungarian gulyás, the word for a stockman or herdsman ("gulya" means a herd of animals, usually cows).

Goulash is a popular dish in Hungary and its neighbours in central Europe and the Balkans, and is widely known in other parts of the world. It has traditionally been considered a simple home meal because it requires little attention after the initial preparation and because it uses more affordable cuts of meat. Today, however, it is also often served in restaurants.

Goulash is most often prepared as a stew. Meat is cut into chunks, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika, and then browned in a pot with oil. Shank, shin or shoulder is used — goulash derives its thickness from tough, well-exercised muscles rich in collagen. Sliced onions, hot red peppers and garlic are added. After the meat is browned, water or stock is added and the stew is left to simmer for several hours to thicken. Some finely diced potatoes may be added to provide starch as they cook, making the stew thicker and smoother. Other herbs and spices may also be added, especially bay leaf, thyme and ground caraway seeds. A small amount of white wine or a very little wine vinegar can also be added near the end of cooking to round the taste.

Some cooking books suggest using flour or cornstarch to thicken the stew, but this produces a starchy texture and a blander taste. Others suggest using generous amounts of tomatoes for colour and taste. A small amount of tomatoes in the stock that is used, or a drop of tomato puree, may improve the taste and texture, but goulash is a paprika-based dish and the taste of tomatoes should not be discernible.

Image:Hungarian goulash.jpg
Hungarian goulash with gnocchi.

Goulash is generally served with boiled or mashed potatoes, polenta, dumplings, or spatzle, or, alternatively, as a stand-alone dish with bread.

This "beef stew" version is not usually referred to as gulyás in Hungarian but is rather called marha pörkölt (or "stewed beef"). Gulyás is more often used as the shortened version of 'gulyásleves' as described below.

Also: goulashes


[edit] North American Variations

In the United States and Canada, various adaptations have made the dish more suitable for local preferences, with the result that American "goulash" often bears little or no resemblance to the Hungarian original.

The amount of peppers and/or paprika are often drastically reduced, even omitted altogether, leaving the dish with a tomato-juice base. To reduce cooking time, the meat is often browned with the onions in a skillet or microwave oven, if it is browned at all. Hamburger frequently replaces stew beef in American goulashes, which reduces the cost as well as the cooking time. The meat and onions are then placed in the kettle, the other ingredients are added to them, and the dish might be ready to serve in as little time as 30 to 45 minutes. American goulash is commonly finished by the addition of noodles or pasta (elbow macaroni being particularly popular), which does not so much thicken the product as absorb the juice of the tomatoes. Depending on the amount of noodles or pasta used, American goulash may be a stew, a soup, or a casserole, rather than a true "goulash" such as one finds in Hungarian cuisine. This form of the dish was made popular by its inclusion in popular cookbooks in the twentieth century, e.g., in Betty Crocker's Cookbook.

[edit] Other dishes

There are several other dishes with goulash in their name.

  • Goulash soup (Hungarian gulyásleves) is a soup made with same ingredients, but with more broth. Sometimes sausage slices are added.
  • Goulash can also be cooked with mutton, to make mutton goulash (Hungarian birkagulyás)
  • Gypsy goulash, (Croatian and Serbian ciganski gulaš) is augmented with vegetables. Green and red bell peppers and carrots are most commonly used. Sometimes one or more other kinds of meat are added, e.g. pork loin, bacon, or mutton.
  • In partisan goulash, Slovenian partizanski golaž, favoured by Slovenian partisans during the Second World War, and still regularly served at mass public events, most meat is replaced with quartered potatoes. It's not as thick as goulash, but thicker than goulash soup.
  • A quite different stew, prepared with pork and sauerkraut is known as Székelygulyás, "Transylvanian goulash" in Hungary, and as "Szegedin goulash" in many of its neighbours.
  • Ice(d) Gulash or 'Jeges Gulyás' is a special chopped and frozen version of the soup in some parts of Hungary, eaten only on the hottest days of the Summer.

[edit] Other uses

  • In English, "Goulash" is occasionally used to mean any mixture of diverse things.
  • "Goulash Communism" is often used to describe the maverick brand of Communism practiced by Hungary during the Cold War, characterized by some degree of political freedom within the Hungarian Communist Party as well as limited economic freedom and freedom of speech, inspired at least in part by the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

[edit] External links


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