September 15, 2017

Hungarian goulash is a national staple in Hungary. Its bright red, hearty, and tantalizing broth is perfect for a year-round beef stew and is paleo to boot. Wandering around Budapest, you can find it served at almost any cafe or restaurant, for lunch or dinner. Local paprika is sold either sweet or spicy and is used in many Hungarian dishes. I purchased mine at the Grand Market Hall in Budapest, a multi-level busy bazaar filled with paprika stands draped in dried chili strands, cured sausage vendors, and local trinket mongers. If you’re lucky, a vendor will give you a taste of their spices before you purchase them.

Paprika is a spice made from ground red peppers, either sweet or of hotter varieties. While it is found in many Hungarian dishes, the spice originated in Mexico and was introduced to Spain in the 16th century. Paprika was traded among the Iberian peninsula, Africa, Asia, and eventually central Europe, where it took root in Hungary. It is now grown mainly in Hungary, but also in the Netherlands and Spain. Spanish paprika is known for being smoky in flavor. It is sold in several different grades, each with unique qualities. For example, “Noble sweet” paprika has a sharp smell, is sweet and mild, and is the most commonly exported type of the spice. “Strong” paprika is the hottest and is light brown in color instead of the vibrant red of the Noble sweet variety. Each serves a different purpose depending on the dish you are making and the flavors you want to showcase.

Using quality spices is the key to a delicious goulash. Bright and sweet paprika, whole caraway seeds, marjoram, and bay leaves lend unique flavors to the dish. While you may not have caraway seed and marjoram on hand, you’ll be glad you do after purchasing them for this recipe. High-grade beef and organic vegetables are also important, and the dish is relatively affordable so don’t skimp on the meat and potatoes. After you make this recipe once, you can adjust a number of vegetables you use. Add more potatoes and another carrot if you’d like it to be heartier, or keep the original amount and add some additional water and paprika if you want a more soup-like consistency. The nice thing about this is you can taste it as you go (after the meat has cooked of course,) and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

You can interchangeably use several types of beef stew meat, chuck steak or sirloin work well. This recipe can be used for a dinner and leftovers for a day or two, or for a group of 4-6 people. The prep work is easy, just chopping vegetables and cubing the meat. However, cook time is between 1 ½ and 2 hours, so give yourself plenty of time to start the dish before dinner guests arrive!


  • 2 Lbs chuck steak or sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 (or approximately 2 cups) Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed.
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ Cup tomato paste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp marjoram
  • 3 Tbs sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt
  • 3 Cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. After chopping up the vegetables and meat, heat olive oil in a large pot on the stove. Once it starts to shimmer, add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the paprika, marjoram, and caraway seeds to the pan with the onions and cook for around 30 seconds. This releases the fragrance of the spices and toasts them to perfection.
  3. Add the beef to the pan, and cook until no longer pink on the outside. It will finish cooking as it simmers later.
  4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, water, and salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 45 minutes.
  5. Add carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper, simmering for 30 more minutes. You may want to add more water if it has cooked down, but it depends on what consistency you would like for the stew.
  6. Check that potatoes and carrots are fork tender. If so, remove the bay leaves, serve in warm bowls, and enjoy! Garnish each bowl with parsley if you want to, or let the stew cool and refrigerate for leftover meals throughout the week.

Thanks for checking out our recipe.

This is a healthy, paleo soup that is both easy and nutritious. Become familiar with paprika, and you’ll find it is a staple in other amazing dishes that you will want to try!