The preparation of the cattle stew and the goulash
The classical regulation of the cattle stew: parch the onion on grease in a kettle. Get off the kettle from the fire, and add a part of the paprika to it, then add the meat. Return it onto the fire; add the water carefully and boil it until it is necessary. The best is to salt in the beginning of the boiling, the only seasoning that you can add bravely is the red paprika. The paprika’s remaining part must be added just before the food is almost done.
If you do this way, the cattle stew will be surely tasty and will never disappoint you, at most, it could be over salted, but you can but you can help it with watering the juice of the stew. The unique style of the cook masters and the local habits could be differing this way, there are whale of methods of preparing the stew.
In Makó, for example, in the wedding stew or the summering stew the paprika is added only in the end. In this way, the juice will be pepper pot like, but as great as the paprika would have been boiled with it. But the red paprika is put in the beginning as well.
In a lot of places wine is put in the juice of the cattle stew, mainly white whine. It’s all up to the taste. It makes the stew more piquant, but if too many wine is put in it, especially from
the red wine, it will be sourish, the taste can be distorted. Its taste and smell will be cleaner, it will be more solemn, more “classical”, if boiled without wine.
Its familiar, but a totally different food is the goulash. It is said as goulash soup. It is, because it has so much juice and eaten with spoon.
In the catering trade and in the home kitchens it could be made in a different way. They make a regular cattle stew, they boil the potato separately, water the stew, and they add the boiled potato. It is a way, but not the best. It can be made as they put vegetables and caraway in it; but this is not only as not the original, but the main infringement of the rules. (The “csipetke” is not an infringement, but an unnecessary adding.)
The strictly regular preparation of the goulash is as the herds (gulyás) made, that is the name come from. This way gives the most tasty goulash soup, but also this is the easiest way. Add the meat and the onion in the kettle, and water it in the beginning, and put it on the fire. You can add the red paprika immediately, but adding the salt and paprika is the best when it’s boiling. When the meat is getting soft, add the potato to boil together. That’s all, who has no time to prepare the goulash, and doesn’t want much unwashed dishes, try this way.
This kind of goulash is the best of all kind of cattle foods. It doesn’t have a meat soup taste, it’s not like the stew; it has a unique taste, what stand between the two foods. I haven’t eaten a herd-made goulash, but I have eaten similar, when I was a soldier. We were on a practice, and the cook of the company – who was a descendant of a herd, a butcher from Szentes – cooked it the same way. That was so same, that we attended to find out, how it’s made. The cook said that he has learnt from his herd-grandfather, that’s why he made it in a different style, and if we’re “on the road to war” it is easier to make. I made some too during the garden works, and it can say it’s brilliant. It is so perfect, that is could compete with any other one-course dish.
At home you can prepare the meat, the potato, and the onion to it, but the cooking lasts a bit long (2-3 hours, depending on the age of the cattle), but it is so simple, that you can work while it boils, you only have to look after the fire sometimes.
This is the food, which is the most basic food of the Hungarian cuisine. If you find a Hungarian restaurant anywhere in the world, the goulash soup must be prepared like this.
With the permission of the organizers of Goulash-festival, Szolnok. Source: Ferenc Erdei (he was a recognized investigator of the Hungarian folklore and cuisine in the 20th century, Hungary.)