Goulash – the original Wiener Saftgulasch
The soulfood classic of the alpine region
One of our Sunday food favourites, especially on cold and rainy days, is the classic Gulasch. Originally not an alpine dish, this cozy autumn and winter dish is nowadays a popular dish in the alpine region, especially in Austria and nearby regions. There is a broad variety of different variants. Today we are preparing the Wiener Saftgulash that only has a few ingredients and is simple but slow to prepare as it takes around 6 hours to get ready. However, the long wait is well rewarded with this tasty classic!
Good things take time
Without going too detailed into the history of the Wiener Saftgulasch, we want to present the original Goulash version, the Paprika Gulasch. It has its origins in Hungaria and was adopted by the Austrian K&K Monarchy as nowadays one of Austrias national dishes. Originally, the Paprika was used instead of the more expensive pepper to give some spice to the dish. But it also gave it its unique flavour and vegetable base, which is now the well know and wide spread original variant. Over the centuries, different regions added other flavours to the Goulash, including mushrooms, other vegetable vegetarian variants, creamy goulash pots and very spicy versions. But all have one in common, the very long cooking time to make the meat soft and juicy.
Recipe for 4 persons
- 600 g Goulash beef meat mostly leg parts
- 450 g Onions
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 4 spoons oil or clarified butter
- 1 spoon vinegar
- 2 spoons sweet paprika powder
- 2 spoons spicy paprika powder
- ½ a spoon of Caraway seed
- ½ a spoon of marjoram
- ½ liter beef broth
- 1 tea spoon food starch
- optionally 1-2 bay leaves
- The ingredient list is short and straight forward, but the joy of this dish lies in the quality of its ingredients. We prefer rather fatty meat parts, the ones that show a bit “marble”. The fat is melting in the long cooking process, separating the fibres of the meat and make it very soft and tender. We also use sweeter onion types to add a bit of fruit/vegetable sugar to the dish, which makes it very round and rich in flavour together with the vinegar.
- 1. Start by chopping the onions in small pieces and the meat in bite sized cube portions. Add oil or clarified butter to the pot and roast the onions on a very low temperature while stirring them constantly until they are glassy but not taking golden or brown colour. the longer you heat the onions this way, the softer they will get and build a juicy vegetable and spice component for the goulash sauce later.
- 2. Then place the meat cubes on top of the onions and do not roast them at all! This is the main difference of the Wiener Saftgulasch to many other goulash variants. The meat will still get very tender and juicy, it is basically just slowly cooked for the first part of the cooking process.
- 3. Now add the vinegar, the paprika powder and the herbs and fill the pot with broth until the meat is fully covered. If there is not enough broth to coever everything, simply use water.
- 4. The processing heat is now one of they keys for the softness of the meal. The lower you can adjust it, the better. The ideal temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees of Celsius and not boiling at all. If your oven is not giving you these low temperatures, you can also place the pot a bit on the side of the field to heat the goulash less.
- 5. Now just let it heat like this for a few hours. Just at the end of the cooking process, heat the pot to full temperature and boil the goulash for a few minutes. This should completely solve the onions into the sauce part and make it very creamy.
Tips and tricks for your Goulash
- Do not roast the meat at all. Most recipes here describe this process with roasting, but the original is a boiled dish.
- Do not roast the onions to golden or brown colour, it gives a different roasted taste then.
- Take your time and know your oven and its temperatures well. Cooking too early would make the meat chewy.
- Always check the amount of liquid in the goulash pot. If the meat is not covered for the low temperature process, it also could get chewy by losing moisture to the air.
- During the final high temperature boiling process, check the meats softness with a fork and cook until the meat gets soft.
- If your meat does not get soft after 2-3 hours (can happen if it is not the right part for goulash), simply cook it longer on high temperature, it will get softer.
As a side dish for the goulash, we recommend Semmelknödel (bread dumplings) which you can find in another recipe here in the blog. One of our favorites is the Spinatknödel (spinach dumpling) or the Kasknödel (cheese dumlping) actually, and we also got these recipes for you here in the blog. Another option is to cook it with more water or broth and eat it as a goulash soup with bread. Super tasty and heating on cold winter days!
Another goulasch that we love to prefer is the Steinpilz gulasch. We will get back to this in another post. Wishing you a tasty Wiener Saftgulasch dinner!