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Ghastly Ghoulash


This is a rich Hungarian beef stew served over or alongside buttery noodles tossed with caraway seeds.

  • Servings: 12


  • 2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 ounces thick bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces small white mushrooms (quartered if large)
  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • Caraway Egg Noodles, for serving


  1. Toss beef with salt, pepper, and flour in a medium bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Brown half of beef on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer beef to a plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef and 2 tablespoons oil.

  2. Add onion to fat in pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring up brown bits, until most liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

  3. Return beef to pot. Stir in paprika, tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; reduce heat. Gently simmer until meat is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Stir in carrots and potatoes; continue to simmer until vegetables and meat are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a dry large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add mushrooms, pearl onions, and bell pepper to fat in skillet; cook until vegetables are tender and golden brown, and liquid has mostly evaporated. Add to goulash.

  6. Season goulash with salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with bacon pieces and oregano. Serve with caraway egg noodles.

Cook's Notes

This "ghoulash" can be made 2 days ahead. Refrigerate the stew, and reheat before serving.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS12040302
    17 OCT, 2013
    I would like to print this recipe off my computer, but there is no "print" option. My MS mags don't go back to 2004 so I don't have a hands on copy. Can someone tell me where I could get a printable recipe? It sounds quite tasty.
  • JayWalker36
    29 OCT, 2012
    Rave reviews for this stew at our annual Pumpkin Carving party before Halloween! I had to leave out the bacon sadly because of dietary needs for a couple of our guests but it didn't seem to lack flavor without it. Will certainly add it next time though. Very easy recipe to follow, I also substituted Rutabaga for the potatoes as they hold up better in a long cooking stew, aren't quite as starchy and add a little more flavor overall.
  • MS10037736
    6 OCT, 2011
    Hello Snugglebunn09 OMG, Thank you so much. As you can see I totally forgot to log back in to receive this in 2010. That's ok I need it this year too. You Rock! Probably because Oct 30 is my b-day so I was trying to stay off the PC. thanks again, and happy halloween. Terry
  • Snugglebunn09
    30 OCT, 2010
    Terry I was just looking for that same recipe and I found it! :) here is the link:
  • MS10037736
    28 OCT, 2010
    The Ghoulash recipe I've been making every Halloween for years, that you published long ago is not this one. The picture showed the ghoulash in a shallow white bowl with plastic black spiders lining the edges. The ingredients are few, meat, lots of onlons, hot hungarian paprika. My family has been eating this every Halloween forever. I can't find it on your site, where oh where did you hide it? :-(
  • Sabbies
    27 SEP, 2010
    Martha, you never let me down! This recipe is great. My boyfriend and I made this for dinner tonight and we ended up cutting the recipe in half--I wish we hadn't! Can't wait to make some more so we can have tons of leftovers.