250 g Onions (2 medium to large onions, about 1/2 lb.)
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
2 TB lard or use duck fat or oil
2 TB Sweet Hungarian paprika (or use paprika cream )
2 TB vinegar
400 g Pork tenderloin (or stewing beef) (about 1 lb - or more - see tips)
2 L water* (4 cups)
Seasoning – salt, pepper (could add 1 tsp of caraway seeds and 1 tsp of marjoram – but I never do caraway – just marjoram)
250 g Potatoes (in small 1/2" cubes; I use Yukon Gold)
(You can add carrots [1 or 2, chopped into 1/2" pieces] and celery [1 stalk, chopped]. Sometimes I do one, both or none. If using either/both good idea to add about 5-10 minutes before potatoes since they will need longer to cook)
This is always served with a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley can be added as a garnish. Finally - some say its not Gulyás without little dumplings.
Melt lard, and sauté chopped onions, gently, until soft and golden (don’t rush this; but do not let this burn); add garlic after onions are soft and translucent and sauté for a minute more
Remove from heat and stir in paprika (this must not burn)
Trim the silver skin if using pork tenderloin. Cut the meat into 1/2" chunks. Return pot to heat and add all this. * adding 1-2 tsp of chicken bouillon mix pumps up the flavor. Season to taste – may need less salt if using some bouillon mix. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add potatoes (and any other veg you plan to add) and simmer until tender. This shouldn't take too long (10-15 minutes) since the potatoes have been cut into small cubes.
Thickener: mix 3 TB flour with a little water; keep adding water until it is more like a slurry that will blend easily when added to soup Stir into soup, bring back to simmer and serve. This stores well for a few days - if it lasts that long. Some water or broth can be added if it becomes too thick after being refrigerated.
Notes and Tips...
- Onions - don't skimp on the onions - they add flavour; chop finely or whiz in food processor, but do not turn it to pulp. These days I do a more coarse chop – rustic style. Don't rush the sauté stage - the onions become sweeter as they become soft and translucent - if they start to burn they can be rescued by adding a bit of water; don't add water right at the beginning because the onions will be steamed instead, sacrificing flavour; the chef source said that for a stew he uses the same amount of onions as meat.
- Lard - its use is traditional and it seems to be having a comeback. This can be found at a delicatessen. Lac Brome duck fat now seems easy to find.
- Paprika - most people will use "sweet" Hungarian paprika - this means it is not hot/spicy. Some Delis now sell paprika cream in a tube - "csemege" is sweet; "csipos" is hot
- Vinegar - in the original recipe this would have been ordinary vinegar. Since then I have worked with chefs who insist that kind of vinegar should be reserved for cleaning windows. It does work in the recipe, but another mild white vinegar such as champagne vinegar could be used.
- Meat - I always use pork tenderloin, but other cuts of stewing pork or beef work. I am not that precise re the amount of meat - the recipe works even better with a bit more meat - add a bit more water if necessary - or decide to call it a stew.
- Bouillon - my concentrated broth mix of choice is "Better than Bouillon"
- Flour - many brands of flour sell an "easy blend" version. It does what it promises - easy blend for these kinds of tasks - no lumps.
- If using dumplings, good idea to make them first and refrigerate until needed.
- While the onions are cooking, cut up the meat.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the vegetables.
- Make ahead: All ingredients can be prepped the day before.
- Make ahead; The soup can be made a day ahead - some might say it tastes even better the next day.
- As noted above can be made with pork or beef.
- Turn this into a stew by using the same amount / weight of onions as meat. Make the vegetables more chunky and use less water / broth.
- Don't forget the vegetables can be varied - use only carrots and potatoes, or add celery and/or parsnips.
- Soup dumplings can be used in a stew, but are optional for both.