Old fashioned goulash with beef and mushrooms the way it’s done in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. This is an easy recipe for a classic stew with diced beef and lots of paprika. Oh and you know what else? It’s d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
(Recept na bosanskom: Gulaš sa gljivama)
What’s in a name?
This dish was brought to the Balkans by the Austro-Hungarians. Because of this, Balkan and Hungarian versions of the recipe are alike. Think of it as the old fashioned goulash.
However, you’re probably wondering what the is difference between American and Hungarian goulash.
There are several. You could even say they’re completely different dishes.
American goulash is made by mixing a ground beef sauce with elbow macaroni. It’s also known as American chop suey and Johnny Marzetti. (The latter is more of a casserole.)
Hungarian and Balkan goulash leans towards a stew. It’s made with larger chunks of beef simmered for a long time with different veggies. Infused with fragrant paprika, this goulash is served both with sides and/or as a standalone dish.
There is a traditional Bosnian beef sauce I make that’s very similar. Equally yummy, it’s the reason why until recently I almost never made goulash at home. What changed the game for me was the addition of mushrooms!
This is now one of my favorite go-to recipes. I hope it becomes yours too!
What is the best cut of meat for this dish?
There is an expectation that classic goulash has flavorful chunks of meat that fall apart when you pick it up with utensils.
This is achieved by a long simmer of tougher beef cuts with little to no fat.
I’ve done it with softer cuts too, even veal.
So, as long as you watch the meat, and adjust your timing and method slightly your dish will come out amazing!
Ingredient and method notes:
Butter: For a truly old fashioned feel sub with lard.
Meat: Best cuts to use are tougher ones like beef neck bones, chuck roll, shoulder, and beef round. However you can get away with “younger” meats like veal.
Mushrooms: Sub with fresh shiitake mushrooms for an even meatier taste.
Paprika: Balkan goulash is usually made with sweet or mild paprika. However, adding spicy paprika really intensifies the flavor.
Seasonings: Additional seasonings that go great in this sauce include marjoram, cumin and thyme.
Tomato Sauce: Sub with tomato paste mixed in water. Check out the ratios here.
Vegetables: While just a few veggies were used (garlic, onion and mushrooms), you’re welcome to include potatoes, carrots and tomatoes. This isn’t a stew that you should overload with veggies. (Here are a few that do.) Goulash is a dish that primarily crowns the meat.
Wine: Sub 1 cup of broth with 1 cup of red wine. Merlot or Pinot Noir work well.
Preparing the meat: Remove tendons (and similar) and cut meat into larger equally sized chunks.
Boiling the meat: Boiling meat in stock allows for meat to soften. It also cuts down on total simmering time in a big way. For extra hard meat boil a little bit longer.
“Younger” meat: If using tender meat cuts, or veal, skip boiling. Instead, start by seasoning meat chunks with paprika first. Then in the pan heat up 2-3 tablespoons of oil and simmer meat, garlic, onion and remaining seasonings on low for 10-15 minutes. Other steps are the same.
How to make today’s dish?
Note: some steps are designated with a and b to give you an idea of what the dish should look like at the beginning and the end of each step.
- Simmer beef in beef broth (15-20 min).*
- Add onion, garlic and seasonings. Continue simmering (20 min).
- Add butter, sugar and tomato sauce. Continue simmering (20 min).
- Add mushrooms. Continue simmering (10 min).
- Garnish and serve with a side of choice.
*If using veal, skip step 1 and simmer everything on oil. However, season the meat with paprika first.
What goes good with goulash?
Keep leftovers in the fridge 2-3 days.
If planning to freeze the stew add another cup of broth during cooking.
Want more recipes like this one?
Will you do me a favor? If you make this classic goulash with mushrooms leave a rating, comment or tag @balkanlunchbox on IG. (P.S. I read every comment!) Prijatno (aka bon appetit)!
Mushroom goulash is an easy goulash recipe fantastic for older cuts of beef, but even better made with rump steak (sirloin). This simple dish is enriched with mushrooms which endow this perfect goulash taste with hints of earthiness.
- 1 – 1.5 pounds beef (chuck roll, beef neck bones, shoulder or beef round, diced)
- 3 cups beef broth (or 1 beef bouillon cube melted in 3 cups of warm water)
- 1 yellow onion (medium, diced; or 1 tablespoon onion powder)
- 1 garlic clove (minced; or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon paprika (mild or hot)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 ounces tomato sauce (puree)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 10–12 ounces mushrooms (penny bun, cremini, portabello or a mix, diced)
- Handful fresh parsley (to garnish)
- In a deep pan or pot combine beef and beef broth. Simmer on low to medium for 15-20 minutes.
- Add onion (or onion powder), garlic (or garlic powder), paprika, salt and pepper to the pan. Mix well and continue simmering 20 minutes. Add a little bit of hot water at times to keep the level of liquid even. (In addition to the broth you’ll be adding 1 to 2 more cups of liquid throughout the entire cooking process for a total of 4-5 cups of liquid to replenish evaporated liquid and achieve wanted goulash thickness.)
- Add butter, tomato sauce and sugar to the pan and mix well. Bring the temperature down to low and simmer another 20 minutes, stirring frequently. (By now the meat should be tender. )
- Finally, add mushrooms. Combine with ingredients well and simmer another 10- 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
- Garnish with parsley and serve over rice, couscous or pasta.
If using tender meat cuts, or veal, skip boiling. Instead, start by seasoning meat chunks with paprika first. Then in the pan heat up 2-3 tablespoons of oil and simmer meat, garlic, onion and remaining seasonings on low for 10-15 minutes. Other steps are the same.
- Calories: 450
- Sugar: 6.2g
- Sodium: 955mg
- Fat: 17.8g
- Saturated Fat: 8g
- Carbohydrates: 11.3g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Protein: 58.6g
- Cholesterol: 167mg
Keywords: mushroom goulash, balkan goulash