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Bogracs Gulyas from the Cooking of Vienna's Empire

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    Posted: 15 August 2010 at 20:23
Bogracs Gulyas, "Kettle Goulash" in our beloved  Anglospeak.....

This is my absolute favorite dish from the Foods of the World cookbook series.  It is from "The Cooking of Vienna's Empire", the recipe is on page 110 of the book.  I have been making this dish for at least 15 years, I bought my copies of the excellent Time-Life series, circa late 1960s, for a few dollars at an auction way back in 1993!  Wow, am I getting old!  If you try this dish I promise you won't make it just once!





First some history from the book...

"To sort out fact from fiction about gulyas is almost impossible.  Everybody agrees that gulyas is a folk dish, a belly-warming shepherds' stew that has been traced back to the Ninth Century.  It was invented for the same reason as other stews, ragouts, hashes, and thick soups:  It was nourishing and inexpensive and it had a good taste.  But most important to men who had to wander far from home, it could be prepared from previously dried ingredients that could be transported easily - a kind of ancient survival ration...

...Over the years everybody has developed his own version of the national dish, basing it on one cut of beef or another, even on fowl, sometimes adding bacon or lard or both.  But the traditional gulyas is still prepared more or less as the wandering shepherds prepared it, though it is no longer dried in the sun; people today eat it when it is ready.  Its basis remains cubes of beef, preferably from the rib or shoulder, cooked with finely chopped onions and diced potatoes.  Some people add fresh tomatoes or tomato puree; some use garlic, some put in sliced peppers or hot cherry peppers; all add paprika, caraway seeds and salt.  It is taboo, however to use any flour to thicken the sauce or to add wine to lend it a French touch.  Classic gulyas, authorities insist, is never made of mutton or pork, and its gravy is almost never finished with sour cream. "

Here's the goods...





2 tablespoons lard
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 pounds beef, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
4 cups chicken or beef stock or 4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-size boiling potatoes, chopped
1 pound of tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium-size green peppers. chopped
1/2 teaspoon marjoram

I like this dish so much that I always make a recipe and a half, increasing the ingredients by 50%, so if the amounts of ingredients in my pictures look greater than what the ingredient list above would indicate, that is why.

The recipe calls for lard but I find that the lard one gets from the market these days, if you can even find it, is so highly refined that it has no flavor.  When I was a kid we raised our own hogs and we had freshly rendered lard which is worlds away from what one can get today.  I know, I know!! Pork fat!! Pig  But please don't substitute vegetable oil or the like, this dish calls for pig fat and there isn't enough in it to hurt anyone anyways, we're way too sensitive these days.  It seems that many of us modern folk are so afraid of dying that we are afraid to live. 

So.....

I use bacon fat, we never throw away bacon fat, we keep it in a jar in the fridge.  Into the kettle goes a few tablespoons of the best the piggy has to offer...





chop the onion and garlic...





and add them to the hot, but not too hot, fat, the Hungarians insist that the heart of this dish is in the frying of the onions, you want them to be just lightly golden, I fry them on low heat for at least 20 minutes and if you burn them at all you must start over so go easy...





I could have sworn that I took a pic of the fried onions and garlic before adding the paprika but I must have been mistaken and for that I apologize as I can't stress enough not to overcook them.  Once they are fried to a very light golden brown remove them from the heat and add the paprika and stir until well coated, you must remove the pan from the heat whilst adding the paprika or it will burn...





once the onions and garlic are well coated with the paprika, add the caraway seeds and broth, I use beef broth, and stir well...





next, add the cubes of beef and season with salt and freshly ground pepper...





bring it to a boil and simmer until the beef is beginning to get tender, an hour, more or less...





once the beef is starting to become tender, add the chopped green pepper, diced tomatoes, and diced potatoes...











add the marjoram...





simmer until the beef and potatoes are tender...




serve with a nice bread and eat like a medieval Magyar shepherd!!!







   


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 02:31
I'm going to wait for a nice cold, rainy day and try a variation on this one...try to incorporate some noodles instead of tater. I'll let you know how it turns out when I do it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 05:03
That is absolutely delicious! Very nice looking cubes of beef too. What kind did you use, rump roast? Agree completely with the browning of the onions first, that is key to so many dishes and this is no different. Where did you get that aluminum pot- it looks really heavy and of high quality- perfect for these kinds of cooking. Love hungarian food, and you did a great job on this Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 06:42
excellent dish, excellent history, excellent cooking tips and excellent pictures! outstanding all around and it looks so easy! for some reason, i was intimidated by this dish when i read it in my book, but seeing the tutorial posted here, i will definitely give it a try on a cold, grey day - great jobm andy!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 07:32
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

I'm going to wait for a nice cold, rainy day and try a variation on this one...try to incorporate some noodles instead of tater. I'll let you know how it turns out when I do it.


Dave,

This works very well with noodles instead of potatoes and I have done that before as a variation.  Another very nice substitute is spaetzle which I also do occasionally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2010 at 07:39
Originally posted by Rivet Rivet wrote:

That is absolutely delicious! Very nice looking cubes of beef too. What kind did you use, rump roast? Agree completely with the browning of the onions first, that is key to so many dishes and this is no different. Where did you get that aluminum pot- it looks really heavy and of high quality- perfect for these kinds of cooking. Love hungarian food, and you did a great job on this Thumbs Up


John,

I just used a cheap rump roast which I trimmed really well and then cut into cubes.  The aluminum pot is a brand called Magnalite, they were made by General Housewares, I bought a set of them about 20 years ago and have been very happy with them.  Mine are the anodized ones, which I believe are no longer available, but they still make what they call the Classic series which is not anodized.  I actually have an old Magnalite pan that was my great-grandmother's which is identical to the Magnalite Classics which you can buy today.

You must try this recipe some cold evening, it is easy as pie to make, and has a wonderful old world flavor and feel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 August 2010 at 15:26
andy - i've been meaning to ask:
 
i like the flavour of caraway, but mrs. tas never has, never will. how noticeable would you say that the caraway is in this dish? also, would you say that it makes or breaks it? i am thinking of reducing the amount or possibly omitting it, but if it is indeed a key component, or if it is something that is well in the background, i will leave it as is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 August 2010 at 11:55
Ron,

I don't really even notice the caraway.  I wouldn't call it a key ingredient. I think if you left it out it wouldn't be missed.  Also, I have done this without the potatoes and served it over noodles which is very good, too.  Just cook it down a bit and it will thicken up nicely.   This also reheats very nicely and get a bit thicker each time it is re-heated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2011 at 13:55
hey, andy - i ahd all the ingredients for this this lat weekend and forgot about it! i will definitely be making it soon, though - it would have been perfect for the kind of day we were having saturday.
 
i'm doing a serbian dish this weekend (from the same FOTW volume), but will move the bogracs gulyas to the top of the list and let you know when i make it.
 
thanks again for posting!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2011 at 15:11
You will love it, Ron.  It is one of my all times favorite dishes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Percebes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 April 2016 at 09:29
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

andy - i've been meaning to ask:
 

i like the flavour of caraway, but mrs. tas never has, never will. how noticeable would you say that the caraway is in this dish? also, would you say that it makes or breaks it? i am thinking of reducing the amount or possibly omitting it, but if it is indeed a key component, or if it is something that is well in the background, i will leave it as is.


For my circle of Hungarian mentors they would loudly voice their dissent if I omitted the Caraway.

So in this situation, I would work some toasted Caraway in a mortar and Pestle and dust my own bowl to taste leaving the main batch Caraway free.

There are 2 key elements to this dish. Both are identified in the recipe name.

My hard core Hungarian friends and family would put the greatest emphasis on the first

Over a camp fire to get a smoky taste.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Percebes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2017 at 04:37
My wife and I spent the balance of the last 2 weeks packing and moving my 83 year old Hungarian MIL from the house she has lived in for the last 50 years into a little condo so that she can manage more easily .

Her parents had fled Hungary in 1956 and her Dad had passed previously in the late 90's

It has been a real snapshot into the past as every last possession that she and her late husband had ever acquired was tucked into some corner of that house and garage. Most items had been repaired and I had little choice due to very short notice of the move to haul over a 3 ton truck of items to donation and the dump. Another 3 ton truck to her new Condo

Other than peace of mind that she will be safe and cared for in her new condo, my reward for all that work was being entrusted with their old chipped and very well loved Bogracs. I am well pleased with that honour.

So in the next few weeks, I will post pics of this dish prepared over a campfire
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2017 at 08:05
Hi, Murray -

I know what a trying time that can be; The Beautiful Mrs. Tas is an RN at the local long-term care center.

I look forward to seeing how it goes with the true Hungarian meal you will be making; I am guessing that it will be an incredible (and delicious) display of family heritage.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2017 at 08:51
Also, for what it's worth, here's how my attempt went when I made this:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/bogrcs-gulys_topic1789.html

It was amazingly good, and I do think I should be making it again, soon....

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