Goulash is one of the well known dishes from Austria. This is a recipe for Austrian-style potato goulash. I am well aware that goulash originally was a Hungarian dish, but – and there is always a but – in every country around Hungary, people have made it their own by altering the original recipe. So the Czech goulash differs from the Austrian and again from the Hungarian style in taste and ingredients.
One Goulash is not like another
I grew up eating different types of goulash, the following, I would say are the best known types: Firstly, there is the famous beef goulash with a thick, dark gravy, cooked for several hours. Another very popular type is potato goulash (in Austrian-German Erdäpfelgulasch, in Germany-German Kartoffelgulasch). Potato goulash is not quite a soup nor a stew; the sauce is definitely thicker than soup, but most of the stews are thicker than this goulash. I hope you get the idea. Usually it takes around 50 minutes active cooking time. I know, that’s more than you would usually spend on preparing an everyday dish, but keep in mind that you can prepare this in bulk, and it actually gets better every time every time you reheat it.
At many places in Austria, this type of goulash basically consists of potatoes, onions and gravy, so it is naturally vegan. At other places, you will find it with some kind of sausage added, like franks or smoked sausage. I added some smoked Polska Kielebasa, as they add a gorgeous smokey flavor. For a vegan version just omit the sausage and add more salt and pepper and smoked paprika, if you like.
Creamy Potato Goulash (Erdäpfelgulasch)
Austrian potato goulash basically consists of potatoes, onions and gravy, so it is naturally vegan. Sometimes you will find this type of goulash with some kind of sausage added, like franks or smoked sausage. I added some smoked Polska Kielebasa, as they contribute a gorgeous smoky flavor. For a vegan version just omit the sausage and add more salt and pepper - and smoked paprika, if you like.
- 4 big or 7 medium starchy potatoes (russets or yellow) (44 oz/1.2 kg)
- 3 medium yellow onions (14 oz/400 g)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 large smoked sausages (I used skinless Polska Kielebasa) (14 oz/400 g)
- 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon Paprika (I use Badia paprika/pimenton or add more Hungarian)
- 2 teaspoons vinegar (any kind will do)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground medium-fine with mortar and pestle*
- 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground medium-fine with mortar and pestle or 1/4 teaspoon ground*
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bouillon cube (for 2 cups broth)
- 7-8 cups water (1 3/4 - 2 l)
* If you don't have a mortar, you can use a spice grinder (coffee grinder). When mincing caraway seeds with a sharp knife, mix seeds with some solid clarified butter (lard or something similar) first, otherwise the seeds will jump around like crazy. Usually, whole caraway seeds (not ground) are added to a traditional goulash, but I like them better when ground first. Coriander seeds are not a traditional ingredient for this dish, but they add a gorgeous flavor. They are best used freshly ground (do not add the whole seeds).
- Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes.
- Cut the onions in half lengthwise, and then finely slice them (half-rings).
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot, preferably non-stick. Add the onions and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Stir constantly. After 5 minutes reduce heat to medium and cook onions, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until soft and golden to light-brown in color. Don't brown them too much as they will taste bitter.
- Add garlic for the last 2 minutes (directly grate/press it into the pot).
- Prepare a pot with 8 cups of hot water, you will gradually add later.
- When the onions are golden, add both types of paprika. There should be enough oil in the pot, so the paprika won't burn (=bitter taste). Stir for 10 seconds and deglaze with vinegar.
- Immediately add tomato paste, marjoram, caraway and coriander. Stir for a few seconds, then gradually add 1 cup of water while stirring. Allow the liquid to reduce, then add another cup of hot water. Boil it down to a creamy consistency. I like to get a smooth sauce, this is why I blend the sauce (I use a hand-held blender). You can skip the next step, if you want some onion chunks in the sauce.
- Remove pot from the heat and let it cool down slightly. Puree in a blender or food processor, or very carefully (!) with a hand-held blender. Put the onion-sauce back into the pot.
- Add sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaves 1 crumbled bouillon cube.
- With a ladle add all but about 1 cup of the hot water to the goulash (depending on your pot and heat, you will need the last cup). Stir each time after adding water.
- Add the potato cubes and cook for 1/2 hour, without lid.
- Meanwhile slice sausages (about 1/4 inch thick) and add. Cook another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just done.
- Fish out 15 to 20 potatoes, put them into a small bowl and thoroughly mash them with a fork. Add a ladle of the goulash sauce to the mashed potatoes, stir and, if needed, mash again so you will get a smooth paste.
- Pour the mashed potato sauce back into the pot and cook for a couple more minutes. The sauce should thicken with this trick. If you let it cool (f.e. overnight) and heat the goulash again, its consistency will be thicker.
- Serve with dark bread, bread rolls or some slices of baguette.
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