Viennese goulash

I’m in love with all things Austrian at the moment, and found this recipe on the Vienna now or never website. Lots of countries seem to have their own take on goulash – Czech is my personal favourite – but none are like the true Budapest goulash soup, thin and zingy. This Viennese one is really called ‘fiaker goulash’, and ‘fiaker’ seems to mean a type of horse-drawn cab. Perhaps this was a quick dish for those on the go back in the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire? Although it took me all day to cook, once made it was ideal for heating up during the week for a quick meal. It’s a really dense meat stew, tasty and rich, but I have to say that it looks like dog food. The sausages go with it surprisingly well, but I omitted the eggs and gherkins from my version, as it just seemed to be getting too odd. You’ll probably want to serve it with some fresh greens to counteract the intense meat hit. The recipe says it serves four, but you could eke it out to six or even eight if you gave a small intense portion of goulash along with salad or vegetables and bread. Here’s the version of it that I made.

  • 1kg stewing beef (you’re going to be cooking it for so long that the toughest old ox will be tender by the end of it)
  • 6 Frankfurter sausages
  • 750g onions (that worked out to five onions for me)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika powder (I think mine is the sweet variety)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper
  1. Cut the onions into strips, the meat into cubes, and crush the garlic.
  2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat, and fry the onions until golden brown.
  3. Add the paprika, chilli and tomato paste, stir, and quickly pour in the vinegar and a little water.
  4. Mix the cubed meat with salt and pepper, and add to the pan.
  5. Stir in the garlic, marjoram, bay leaves and caraway seeds.
  6. Pour in enough cold water to cover the meat, and stir.
  7. Simmer on a low to medium heat,  half covered, for about 2 ½ hours. Stir from time to time, and add water if it gets too dry. I found myself adding quite a bit of water. 
  8. Now then, at this point, when the meat’s cooked, you have a very tasty-looking stew, but the recipe tells you to put it in a moderately warm oven for about 1 hour. I did that, and ended up with a rather dry, dog-food looking dish. Next time I make it, I mean to omit the extra hour in the oven for sure.
  9. When you’re ready to serve, zap the Frankfurters in the microwave according to the packet instructions. Alternatively, simmer them lovingly in a pan for 10 minutes. Cook them, at any rate.
  10. Slice the sausages and serve them with the goulash. Eat heartily, then re-mount the box of your fiaker and earn some fares.