Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{Vintage Kitchen} Hungarian Goulash

What embodies winter comfort food better than a good old-fashioned stew? This week's Vintage Kitchen recipe comes from a 1950 magazine feature all about stews of the world - Belgian Beef Stew, Italian Veal Stew, Rabbit Stew and an Arabian Stew that, ironically, uses pork as the main ingredient. I decided to try the Goulash mostly in honour of Michael McIntyre's utterly hilarious herbs and spices sketch, which still makes me giggle even after seeing it at least a dozen times.

Hungarian Goulash
from Everywoman magazine, November 1950

To serve 4 people

1-1½ lb stewing beef; 2 large Spanish onions; 2-4 oz lard; 2 heaped teaspoons paprika; 1 clove garlic; ½ pint water or stock; ½ cup sour top-of-the-milk cream or yoghurt; cornflour.

Melt the lard in a saucepan. Chop the onions finely and cook them very gently in the fat until they're soft and transparent. (Keep the lid on the pan). Meanwhile wash the meat, cut it free from fat and gristle and chop it into squares. When the onions are half-cooked remove the pan from the fire and stir in the paprika. (I sometimes use even more paprika than this – some kinds seem milder than others.) Blend in well but do not fry. Add the meat and the stock. If you like you can add some carrots at this stage, and some tomato puree. Cover and cook slowly until quite tender; how long will depend on the meat – probably about 2 ½ hours. When it is ready the meat will be soft and the gravy should be quite thick, but you can thicken it with a little cornflour if necessary. Stir in the sour milk or yoghurt and boil for a few minutes longer, stirring all the time. Accompany, if possible, with beans or peas and serve in a ring of rice or mashed potato. Dust the goulash with paprika and chopped parsley before serving.

Since there's just two of us I used half quantities (except I did use about half a pint of water, and I also used a couple of cloves of garlic to give it a bit of a boost). As usual I switched out the lard for a couple of generous knobs of butter because that's what I had. I threw in a few roughly chopped carrots as suggested, and a good squeeze of tomato puree.

And the result?

So good! The paprika gives it a nice kick (I used quite a lot), and the long, slow cook leaves the beef super tender. It went very well with leftover rice from the night before - and maybe next time we'll have it on mashed potato.

This is so much fun, this vintage cookery lark. In fact I'm enjoying it so much that I'm going to start trying some of the more 'out there' recipes. Next week: Macaroni Curry and Green Peas - a real recipe from 1947.


  1. Looks tasty. Just the day for a stew here, it's absolutely bitter, quite a wind, no snow but the cold would cut your ears off!

  2. If you want some really 'out there' recipes I can lend you a book... chicken jelly towers hmm? Haha maybe not.

    I do love vintage soup and stew recipes, they know what to do with cheaper cuts better than we do now in some respects. Elizabeth David's insistence there were no spices before she came along is just incorrect- part of her genius in establishing her name/brand, but nonsense all the same.

  3. Oh my, this looks so tasty and perfect for an icy January eve. I love goulash and often make it with turkey or chicken myself - most versions, like this one, are gluten-free, making them perfect for those like myself with celiac disease. Thank you for sharing this 1950s version with us, dear Charlotte. I'll be trying it the next time I whip up a pot of goulash.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. this is very fun! :D Sure is fun to read :)

  5. That looks delish! I love old recipes, so I'll have to give it a whirl. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This sounds good. Will be interested to hear about the macaroni curry!

  7. I love a good stew in Winter and this looks so good. I think it's fun to see what our predecessors cooked especially during the war years when food was scarce.


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