Top | New Classic Family Dinners

Beef Goulash

(recipe, Mark Peel)

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Paprika is the most important ingredient in this Austro-Hungarian classic. It should be sweet Hungarian paprika, not smoked Spanish paprika. Keep it in the freezer in a well-sealed container and it will stay fresh for several months. If it’s been sitting out for more than 6 months, discard it and get a new batch. Begin this stew a couple of days ahead so you can marinate the meat and easily degrease the finished sauce.


  1. 3 lb. skirt steak or beef chuck or round, cut in 1½-inch pieces
  2. 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  3. 3 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Freshly ground black pepper
  6. 6 fat garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed, and sliced
  7. 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  8. 3 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut in ¼-inch-wide strips
  9. ¾ tsp. caraway seeds
  10. 2 tsp. tomato paste
  11. 1½ cups chopped, peeled, and seeded tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  12. ½ lb. sweet red peppers (1 large or 2 medium), roasted, peeled, seeded, and sliced (retain any juices)
  13. 1½ cups (one 12-ounce bottle) lager beer


  1. Place the meat in a large bowl and toss with the canola oil, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 4 of the garlic cloves, and half the onion. Knead the mixture well so that the seasonings penetrate the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, scrape the onions and garlic off the meat and set aside with the remaining onions and garlic. Heat a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon renders its fat, then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Add the meat to the pan in batches and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl with the bacon. (There will be a lot of juice in the pan; pour off the liquid from the pan between batches but retain with the meat.)
  4. Add the remaining onions to the pan with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, caraway seeds, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste caramelizes slightly (it will turn a rusty color). Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until they have cooked down slightly. Add the roasted peppers and their juice and stir together for a few more minutes, then return the meat and bacon to the pan with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Add the beer, 1 teaspoon salt, and water if necessary.
  5. The meat should be almost submerged. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, until the meat is fork-tender. From time to time, skim the fat from the top of the simmering stew. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and vegetables from the liquid and place in a bowl. Pour the liquid into another bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight if serving the following day (if serving the same day, allow to rest for 1 hour and degrease, following the directions below).
  7. The next day, lift off the fat that has accumulated on top of the liquid and discard. Combine the meat and gravy in a pot, reheat gently, correct the seasonings, and serve, with noodles, spaetzle, rice, or parsleyed potatoes.