Archive for February, 2013

Hungarian Goulash Made Easy

While shopping at Cost Plus Imports recently, I found this spice pack on clearance:

Gotta Cook Tonight Spice Pack


I’m all about saving time, and this product saves its users from having to measure out all the individual spices (I’ll take whatever help I can get!).  Here’s what you need to make the goulash:

Hungarian Goulash Ingredients


The spice pack, 4 medium red potatoes, 2 medium yellow onions, 2 celery stalks, 2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (original recipe calls for one, but that doesn’t give you enough sauce at the end), and 2.5 lbs of chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces (I purchased a 3.25 lbs roast, and ended up with just under 2.5 lbs of good meat once I cut out the fat).  Start by cutting all the produce into smallish pieces:



Cut celery into skinny strips, then:



dice them up!



Next, start dicing the onions.  I first cut the onion one way, then the other:

Onion Cross Cuts


Make sure you don’t cut through the root when making the cross cuts.  You want the root area to stay attached to make the final dice easy. I forgot to take pictures of this step, but you just lay the onion on it’s side, and make slices all the way down, perpendicular to the cross cuts you previously made.  You should end up with a dice like this:

Onion Dice 

Next, dice up the potatoes by slicing them in about 1/2″ slices…

Potato Slices


…then, stack the slices and cut into strips.

Potato Strips


Now, cut those strips into 1/2″ cubes, so you end up with this:

Diced Potatoes


Finally, I cut up the chuck roast.  I always cut up the meat last, after I’ve cut up all the veggies, so I can use just one cutting board for meal prep.  First, cut up the chuck roast into steaks.

Chuck Roast Steaks

You’ll notice that my chuck roast looks a little oxidized.  That’s because this was a clearance special that had to be used right now!  Also, I didn’t want all that fat in the goulash, so I cut out most of the big pieces of fat.  There’s plenty of flavor in the spices and veggies, so you really don’t need it.  Next, dice up the meat into bite-sized chunks.

Bite-sized chunks


Now, it’s time to get cooking.  First, saute the onions until translucent on medium-high heat.  

Saute Onions


Next, add the meat…

Add meat


…and brown the meat.

Brown the meat


Once the meat is browned, add the remaining ingredients to the pot:  2 cans of diced tomatoes,

Add diced tomatoes


potatoes and celery,

Add potatoes and celery


and, finally, the spice pack.

Add spice pack


Mix up all the ingredients really well.

Mix up goulash ingredients


Now, you just have to reduce the heat, and let it simmer to finish cooking the veggies and tenderizing the meat.  The original recipe calls for one hour of simmering, but it actually took more like two hours to fully cook the potatoes.  This ended up being a much longer process than I expected…I should have read the recipe about how much I would have to chop up a little more closely!  Definitely more of a weekend meal, unless you buy pre-chopped veggies and stew meat.  All are available at most grocery stores, but will cost you more than their uncut counterparts.  The final product was totally worth it, and really hit the spot!

Hungarian Goulash 

Totally took me back to a day I spent freezing on top of a mountain in Germany, and a nice couple from Georgia bought me a bowl of this to warm me up!  Enjoy!