Posted by: Erica Retrochef | February 19, 2009

“Hungarian Gulasch”

Goulash, like bread pudding, is a recipe that we have tried many variations with and enjoy having regularly. At its best, it requires something like half a jar of paprika with plenty of meat and onions. One of our favorites came from the Ships of the Great Lakes Cookbook (via NPR’s Kitchen Sisters), although it does require shrinking — its original intent was to feed a shipload of hungry sailors, meaning you’ll have goulash for weeks if you make the full amount. This version is from a Monarch Cook Book, via the Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook.

Monarch Cook Book (1906) I love this cookbook cover, by the way. The product (iron range) prominently displayed, complete with a man jauntily waving his cap while standing on the oven door to demonstrate its durability. (Click the pic to see him larger, in his full mustachioed glory.)

Hungarian Gulasch
1-1/2 pounds onions, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp paprika [or many more depending on your preference]
1-1/2 pounds stew beef
1 cup canned tomatoes, diced or chunked
1 tsp vinegar [or more depending on your preference]
5 potatoes, diced
salt & pepper to taste

It’s really easy — first saute your onions in butter, then dump everything in a pot and let it simmer for ages. (The recipe claims 45 minutes is enough, but we usually give it a few hours.)

If you have a CrockPot, things are even simpler. Ours only recently broke (just stopped heating things one day), so we used the retro recipe as an excuse to buy a new CrockPot.

Cute New CrockPots

It seems I’m using the blog as an excuse for a lot of new kitchen appliance purchases. (Quick, somebody think of a recipe that will require a new fridge.)

Hungarian Gulasch

See? I wasn’t kidding. Dump everything in the CrockPot and wait! It turns into a sweet, zesty beef stew, great for a chilly night when you want hearty and comforting food without much work.

We ended up using more paprika and vinegar than even the Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook suggested, and its measurements were a huge step up from the pinches of paprika in the original Monarch Cook Book; those 19th century Americans really couldn’t handle any spice.


  1. This ware pretty good goulash, but it was a bit underspiced. The paprika and vinegar alone didn’t give that much roundness of flavor. It was good, but something else could have blended the flavors more.

    The new crock pot is awesome though. It doesn’t heat quite as quickly as the old one, because the heating elements are now separated from the ceramic bowl. However, the bowl is now removable, which makes it much easier to clean.

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