Beef goulash is one of our favourite casseroles. Beef braised in a rich tomato sauce flavoured with paprika and sweet peppers – perfect for cold wintery days. Traditionally it is served with soured cream, although we often substitute with natural yoghurt. I like to accompany it with white or brown rice but creamy mash potatoes also go really well.
As I am about to write that this dish is easy to make, I wonder if I’m getting a bit repetitive. I suppose I am, but then again that is what recipes made easy is all about – easy recipes! I have always been passionate about easy home cooking and dishes that taste amazing. A beef goulash doesn’t disappoint. Like most casseroles and stews the basic method is pretty much the same. Start with browning the meat – not essential but it does help with colour and visual appeal – add vegetables and a liquid. Cook until meat is tender. The trick is to add the right ingredients to give a rich and satisfying flavour. Tomatoes, for example, can be a little acidic so the sweet paprika compliments them well. Sweet bell peppers add colour, flavour, and nutrients to the dish. The end result: a flavoursome and satisfying meal.
True, it does take a little bit of time for the ingredients to do their magic but in the meantime you can get on with other things. Like most stews the flavour improves if left to stand and reheated the next day (refrigerate once cold, of course). So, if time on the day is short, a little bit of planning will solve the problem. It also freezes well, which works well for us, as the number I am cooking for often changes depending on whether the boys are at home or not. If it is just the two of us I freeze the rest for another day. If you have a big enough pot you could double up the recipe and do a bit of batch cooking/freezing and have a stock of tasty beef goulash in the freezer.
- 1 kg braising or stewing beef cubed
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- about 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 3 large onions sliced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tbsp paprika plus extra to sprinkle
- 2x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 beef stock cube
- 400 ml water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 peppers deseeded and sliced
- soured cream or natural yogurt to serve
- Place the meat in a bowl, add the flour, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 140℃ (130℃ fan)/275°F/gas mark 1.
- In a large frying pan heat 1 tbsp of the oil and gently fry the onions until softened and beginning to colour. Stir in the garlic, then transfer to a ovenproof casserole.
- Add a little more oil to the frying pan and fry the meat in batches until browned on all sides. add to the casserole.
- Once all the meat has been browned, stir the paprika into the frying pan followed by the tomatoes. Add the water and stock cube and bring to the boil. If your frying pan is not big enough, add the stock cube and boiling water straight to the casserole.
- Pour into the casserole. Add the bay leaves, cover and cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours.
- Add the peppers to the pan, cover and cook for a further 1–1½ hours. Stir well and serve topped with a good dollop of soured cream or yoghurt. sprinkle with a little extra paprika.
Hints Tips and Variations
- While traditionally red and green peppers are used in goulash, you can use any colour. Peppers sold in packs of 3 are often cheaper than buying individually. When testing this recipe I used a pack of three with a red, a yellow, and an orange pepper. It varies though, so use what you have.
- Smoked paprika adds a lovely deep smoky flavour to this dish. Sweet paprika has a mild slightly sweet flavour and hot paprika will give a little spicy heat to the dish. Your choice!
- Goulash can be cooked on the hob. Reduce the cooking time by about 1 hour. Stir occasionally to prevent the base from burning. Or cook in a slow cooker for about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Add the peppers half way through the cooking time.