Hungarian Goulash is a stew that combines cubes of meat, such as beef, lamb, and pork, with fresh vegetables seasoned using paprika and other mild spices. Goulash is a popular, hearty dish in Southern and Central Europe. The recipe varies across families and cultures, with some chefs including potatoes or noodles for a heartier broth. The stew can also be lightened with water to make a summertime soup with the same goulash flavors. Authentic goulash lacks flour.
Dating back to the 9th century, Hungarian goulash mimics the stews that old-world herdsman dined on when tending their flocks of sheep or herds of cattle. Originally, goulash was cooked and flavored with onions, bell peppers and paprika before being dried in the sunshine and packed into bags made of sheep stomachs. The goulash could then be hydrated with water when the shepherds grew hungry.
Now the signature dish of Hungary, goulash is often left to simmer in a pot for hours on low heat. This process thickens the natural juices of the meat while allowing the flavorful spices and vegetables to intermingle. Sometimes, when the stew is lacking a smooth flavor, chefs add a pinch of white wine or wine vinegar to enhance the taste.