What Is Goulash And What Is It Made Of?

There's a quote that speaks to the health benefits of eating goulash, a Hungarian stew, from the physician and writer Martin H. Fischer that goes "A nickel's worth of goulash beats a five dollar can of vitamins" (via Secrets of My Kitchen). With today's prices, a nickel might not be able to buy a whole lot of goulash, but if you are lucky enough to come across some or cook your own, then indulging will certainly add nutrients to your diet, due in part to the impressive variety of vegetables involved.

Hungarian goulash is a hearty, seasoned stew made with meat and veggies. For Cooking Classy's Goulash (One Pot American Style) recipe, ground beef, and Macaroni noodles are included along with yellow onions, red bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes, while garlic, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, parsley, and paprika add flavor. It's also a perfect, versatile recipe with plenty of room for experimenting with different variations of meat, broth, and vegetables for cooks who like to get a little creative in the kitchen.

Goulash's beginnings and adaptations

Goulash has been around for quite some time. According to Britannica, its origin has been traced to 9th century Magyar (another name for Hungarian) shepherds. The shepherds would prepare a stock of food made of slow-cooked meats with onions and other flavorings. Before the shepherds would head out with their flock, the stew would be dried and packed into bags (made of sheep's stomachs, of course). When it was time to eat, water would be added to the stock to create a soup or stew. Paprika wasn't added until the 18th century.

Hungary's goulash or gulyás (translates into "herdsman") is usually made with beef, veal, pork, or lamb, potatoes, and other vegetables, but other varieties have also been created. Fans of sauerkraut should try Gulyás à la Székely, a variety that uses sauerkraut and sour cream instead of potatoes, or Csángó Gulyás, a version with sauerkraut and rice instead of pasta and potatoes. Oenophiles might enjoy Mutton Gulyás or Birkagulyás, a variety made with mutton and red wine, and anyone looking for a smoky flavor might like Betyár Gulyás, a version with smoked beef or pork for the meat (via Just Landed).