Hungarian Goulash, Then and Now

Being a chef, many people often ask me if I get my cooking inspiration from my mother. I quickly answer that question by saying… “No not really, but I get my work ethic from her and my father as well.” Growing up in Warwick, New York, they both worked two jobs just to make it happen. As far as dinner time was concerned, the meals were kept rather simple, and easy to prepare. Often we had “breakfast for dinner”, fish sticks, or spaghetti. My mother didn’t have much time to cook, she was always working! Every once in a while, I can remember chicken cutlets, or fried pork cutlets and applesauce that were quite enjoyable. In the colder months, my mother would sporadically make a dish that I remember grimacing at, just when I heard the name. Even if she said it today, I would still cringe.  Hungarian Goulash. Or as my mom use to say, GOOUUUUUUUUUUULASH! I’d never eat it, just the name would scare me away as a kid.
Some 30 years later though, and wearing my big boy pants on a daily basis, I’ve learned to appreciate this dish at a whole new level. Overtime, I’ve developed a true passion for properly braised meats…I know, a typical chef.

Recently, one of my cooks has brought Hungarian Goulash back into my life. With his cooking, he also brings back the memories of my mother’s attempt to recreate this classic. He’s made me a believer in Goulash!
Served about once a month in one of our retail outlets, It’s become a day that I truly get excited about. Every bite I have, I crave another, every bite, I think of being a kid again. I get excited for the opportunity I now have to now make it for my mother, the next time she visits North Carolina.

    Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to re-invent something new on the culinary scene. Coming up with the next best thing is a challenge for all chefs. Every once in a while though, I encourage you to step back and honor the classics. Focus on building flavors, and flawless execution. The end result will be making people happy patients,  patrons, or guests.

 I’d like to also thank one of my best cooks, Kiron Ollivierre, who quite honestly makes some of the best Hungarian Goulash that I’ve ever had. Thanks for reminding me of home, thanks for reminding me of my Mom!
photo (3) MOM

Chef Kirons Hungarian Goulash Recipe
Cubed Beef Stew Meat 5#
Pork Fat                          1/2 cup
Red Wine                         4 cups
Chopped Garlic              1/2 cup
Diced Onion                    2 each
Diced Celery                   1 cup
Diced Green Pepper      1 cup
Beef Stock                       1/2 Gallon
Hungarian Paprika        1/2 cup
Chopped Fresh Parsley 1/4 cup
Sour Cream

Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Season beef cubes with salt, pepper. Heat the pork fat over medium heat, then add beef and sear on all sides.

2. Add garlic, onions, celery,  peppers, and Paprika Saute for about 3 minutes, string occasionally. Add the red wine, and let it reduce by half.

3. Once the red wine has been reduced, add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, adjust the heat and bring it down to a simmer. Cook for about 1 hour at a slow simmer until the beef is fork tender. Make sure this is covered with a lid. Finish with freshly chopped parsley, and adjust seasonings as needed.

4. Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream.



About Chef Ryan CEC

I'm the Executive Chef for Rex Healthcare's Culinary & Nutritional Services team in Raleigh, NC. We are doing some amazing things. We are changing the perception of "Hospital Food"- one meal at a time.
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