Traditional Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash – JackSlobodian
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traditional Hungarian goulash probably isn’t like the goulash you’ve tried before unless you’ve been to or lived in Hungary. This is a traditional goulash recipe from my travels in Hungary and the time I spent living and cooking in central Europe.
If you’re looking for a vegan/vegetarian alternative, check out my vegan Hungarian Goulash recipe.
This Hungarian goulash recipe uses traditional ingredients that are slowly cooked in the slower pot until the meat becomes tender and the broth has developed flavor. It takes a long time to break down collagen into hard cuts of beef used in goulash, so the slow cooker is ideal for this recipe.
Why not use lean cuts of meat instead?
The collagen in the hardest meats plays a crucial role in the development of a rich stock. When cooked slowly, the collagen in meat breaks down into gelatin that thickens and adds richness to its broth. Therefore, there is no need for additional thickeners such as flour or cornstarch.
What does this slow-cooking Hungarian goulash taste like?
This slow-cooked Hungarian goulash has a rich spicy flavor with a depth of different flavors. It has a mild sweetness of pork fat, paprika and red pepper and richness of golden onions, beef shin and broth. This richness and sweetness is balanced with fresh herbs and tender vegetables.
When is a good time to cook this?
Anytime! This recipe is delicious and eaten all year round. Personally, I like to cook this on a weekend when I can put in 20 minutes of preparation time in the morning. So it’s excellent; I just let it cook without worrying about having to make lunch or dinner later that day.
Do I have to use a slow cooker?
No, you don’t. You can change the slow cooker with a large pot with a lid and apply only a few small adjustments.
- Use a large pot with lid instead of the slow cooker
- it barely boils over low heat
- Stir every 30 to 60 minutes
- Cook until meat is tender, about 4-6 hours.
Cook goulash over low to very low heat until
Why did I use a slow cooker?
I used a slow cooker to make the recipe easier and more complete. The heat is well rounded and never snags on the bottom, and because of this, you don’t have to remove the goulash.
No need to worry about catching or overcooking, just set it and forget it. Once the timer is over, it will stop cooking and place the goulash in hot hold mode.
What type of slow cooker should I use?
Be sure to use a good quality slow cooker. I am currently using a 3.5L slow cooker that works perfectly for this batch size. The slow cooker was half full, which left me a bit of room if I wanted to increase the batch size for next time.
For most recipes, it is a good guide to have the slow cooker around 50% to 75% full to avoid undercooking or overcooking. Use these ingredient ratios as a guide when cooking in different slow cooker sizes.
2L slow cooker: use a ratio of 0.66 to 1 3.5L slow cooker: use a ratio of 1 to 1.5
- 5L slow cooker: use a ratio of 1.5 to 2
As I am currently 45 minutes from the Hungarian border while making this recipe, Traditional ingredients are really easy to learn. If you can’t find all the ingredients and need to make some adjustments, don’t worry, I’ll give you the best possible replacement for each hardest ingredient to get.
Pork fat is very popular in Hungary, it adds richness and sweetness to goulash. – The best alternative would be neutral cooking oil such as canola oil or vegetable oil. Beef Shin is an excellent meat choice; It’s reasonably cheap and has a lot of collagen that breaks down into gelatin while cooking, which adds wealth. – The alternative is Beef Chuck; This is also a great option and has a similar cooking time. Hungarian red peppers are tasty and slightly spicy peppers. The best alternative is less spicy red peppers; Red banana or red pepper peppers are a good choice. Hungarian paprika has a delicious depth of flavor; You can use “sweet” or “spicy” Hungarian paprika. The best replacement would be regular paprika for the “sweet” version and regular paprika with 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper for “spicy” Hungarian paprika.
What makes Goulash traditional? Goulash
originates from Hungary and has been around since the 9th century. The recipes have been slowly adjusted and refined over time. It wasn’t until the 16th century that paprika was added, which is now considered one of the most important flavors of goulash.
In the 4 years I spent traveling and living in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria, I have never seen a recipe with macaroni, ground beef, cheese or flour. I have also worked within prestigious 5 star hotels with Hungarian chefs, and they can confirm that it is not a thing.
This type of goulash is more of a ‘Spag Bol’ with the addition of a pinch of paprika and swapping the spaghetti for macaroni. For me, this is more of an Italian American pasta dish, which is something completely different from this recipe.
Step by step instructions
1) Melt the pork fat in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and brown for 5 to 7 minutes.
2) Turn up the heat, add the meat and season with salt and pepper. Seal the meat on each side, this will take 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, mix and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds.
3) Add the Hungarian pepper and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
4) Turn off the heat, add the Hungarian paprika and mix well. Let the residual heat roast the paprika.
5) Add all ingredients in the slow cooker. Place high for 4 to 6 hours, or low for 8 to 10 hours.
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