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When Is A Goulash Not A Goulash?

onlinecooking's picture

The answer is: when a chef's ego gets in the way. 

My wife is Hungro-Canadian, and if something like Goulash or Chicken Paprika doesn't follow the stanard, then you're in trouble.  

I thought I was being smart, doing a variation, my variation on a Hungarian classic.  I committed sacrilege.  I tossed in things like bacon, I used a mire poix, and I was in the wrong.  Rule of thumb, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I didn't make that mistake again.  What makes Hungarian food taste so good is its simplicity.

Goulash is nothing more than beef, paprika (from what I understand, usually adding both sweet and hot), water or chicken stock, salt and pepper, a few bay leaves, onions, potatoes, and lard (depending on how rich you want it).  Sometimes its thickened, other times its more soup like.  A lot of people who are not familiar with an authentic goulash, put a lot of things in, like I did, but some of the things people add make me frown too.

I never made the mistake of doing that with Chicken Paprika, then I would have really been in trouble.  

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3 Comments

Ganesh.Dutta's picture
Interesting!
shantihhh's picture
Goulash has variations when prepared in such as Croatia or Slovokia. They make it "their" way for hundreds of years-so they claim it as their own. I love goulash and the secret is the use of Hungarian paprika-excellent quality.........................but sometimes I do use smoked Spanish Paprika.
shantihhh's picture
Oh the ego thing, I feel we each have our own tastes and I rarely cook "pure". and often tweak a recipe. Ingredients can vary and moods alter how we want something to taste. Tweaking is what makes a fine cook unless you are baking and must adhere to exact measurements and recipes. Sometimes what you have on hand or fresh from the garden dictates. Toss out the egos! Shanti/Mary-Anne