Ghastly Ghoulash

Ghastly Ghoulash

This rich Hungarian beef stew is a labor of love and well worth the effort. Stew beef, such as chuck, becomes super tender when cooked with plenty of red wine, diced tomatoes, vegetables, and herbs for about two hours. Serve alongside buttery noodles tossed with caraway seeds.


  • 2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ 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 ¼-inch rounds

  • 12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 4 ounces thick bacon, cut into ¼-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.

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