Try this super simple, rich, flavoursome Hungarian national dish

I came across this recipe for epic Hungarian goulash from the Hairy Bikers.

And save it on my ‘To Do’ recipe list.

PREP TIME: 20 mins
2.5 hrs slow cooking
crowd-pleaser, family

Wine pairing: If you don’t have a Hungarian wine to hand, then try a nice Californian Cab Sav with rich blackberry & fig flavours.

Which goes well with rich slow-cooked meats.

Epic Hungarian goulash… and Devon

Then, as South Devon can do… the sea mist/fog/clouds came in.

And when this happens, it’s utterly oppressive and massively annoying.

Because, when it’s June and you speak to friends in London or other parts of the country.

They gleefully tell you they’re baking in the bright summer sun.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this area and I’m lucky to get to enjoy it.

But sea mist/fog/cloud, can break you.

So, to lift the old spirits, I looked up a heart-warming recipe to make me feel happy again.

Enter stage left… the Hungarian goulash.

Good for a last-minute crowd

Now that lockdown has eased some of its restrictions, it’s nice to have family back again.

And having not seen some of them for a year, they’re keen to come and stay.

Which for us is lovely but there are complications with cooking.

There are a lot of younger ones who have now become vegetarian.

Then the odd one flicks between veganism and veggie.

And then, of course, there’s the old school crowd (plus Toby ;).

Who still like meat.

However, even as meat-eaters, we’ve all adapted to eating less meat.

And we always make sure we buy quality, local, produce.

But cooking a single meal for this crowd has become SO much more complicated… and not actually possible.

Because cooking has become much more full of many separate pans!

Which I have to say, is why I like this epic Hungarian goulash dish.

It couldn’t be easier to do… with one-pan.

Which leaves all the other hobs for the veggies and vegans.

What is Hungarian goulash?

It was originally more of a soup of meat and veggies, but is now more of a stew and is seasoned with paprika.

Goulash is traditionally made with beef but you can make it with pork as well.

And it came about in the 9th Century from the herdsmen or the “Hungarian cowboys” on the Hungarian Great Plain (puszta).

These ‘cowboys’ lived a nomadic lifestyle and would cook it over the fire in a cauldron.  


Although not used back in the 9th Century, paprika is the signature flavour of the goulash.

And due to my own ignorance, I didn’t know that paprika was actually from Hungary.

(…I thought it was Spanish).

So, paprika is, in fact, a Hungarian spice but with a Mexican origin.

The chilli peppers were discovered by Christopher Columbus on his at the end of the 15th century.

And the Hungarians dried and ground the chilli pepper to make paprika.

Its name come from the Greek peperi and in the Latin piper both of which refer to pepper.

Hungarian paprika flavour

It’s very different from the smoked Spanish paprika.

And has a rich and intense red peppery flavour.

But they range in pungency and heat.

And Hungarian paprika traditionally comes in eight different flavour profiles.

Which range from mild and bright red to spicy, pungent, and pale orange.

The eight grades of Hungarian paprika

  1. édesnemes – bright red variety, pungent pepper flavour and sweetness and often called ‘Sweet Hungarian Paprika’ outside of Hungary). 
  2. különleges – “special quality”; mild and most vibrant red,
  3. csípősmentes csemege – delicate and mild,
  4. csemege paprika – similar to theabove but more pungent,
  5. csípős csemege – even more pungent,
  6. félédes – semi-sweet with medium pungency,
  7. rózsa – mildly pungent and pale red,
  8. erős – hottest and light brown to orange.

You can buy Hungarian paprika online or sub in smoked and sweet paprika and still have a wonderful stew.

Epic Hungarian goulash dish

So, there you have it.

A super simple, national dish from Hungry.

Packed full of flavour, thanks to their national spice, paprika.

And a dish that requires little effort for maximum flavours.

Plus, you just use cheap cuts of beef like chuck or shin.

… and leave the veggies and vegans to fend for themselves!

Enjoy 🙂

Ps. fancy some other great ideas for a one-pan dish?

Then check out my favourite 6 crowd-pleaser one-pan recipes.

Beef goulash

What’s your favourite one-pan dish? Leave a comment…

Hungarian goulash

Course Main Course
Keyword goulash, one pot meal, stew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author The Hairy Bikes
Cost £


  • 1 kg good quality brasing steak like chuck or shin
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 medium onions, cut into 12 wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp paprika or 2 tbsp of Hungarian paprika
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 600 ml cold water
  • 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 oranger pepper
  • sea salt and cracked pepper for seasoning


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C.
  • Cut the meat into rough 4cm chunks. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Heat the oil on a high heat in a large casserole dish and add the steakto brown nicely all over.
    Put the onions into the pan and cook with the beef for 5 mins until softened, then add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring regularly.
  • Sprinkle both paprikas over the meat and crumble the beef stock cube on top.
    Now, add the water, tomatoes, tomato purée and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper, stir well and bring to a simmer.
    Then, cover with a tightly fitting lid and transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 1½ hrs.
  • While the beef is cooking, cut up the peppers in chunks, approx 3cm (discarding teh core and seeds).
    Once the beef has cooked for 1½ hrs, remove the dish from the oven and stir in the peppers, then put the lid back on and place back in the oven for another hour or until the beef is lovely and tender.
  • Serve with rice and spoonfuls of soured cream.