Looking for a healthy and guilt-free dinner recipe? Make the most of your slow cooker and cook this Hungarian Goulash. It is an easy and economical dish made with gravy beef and plenty of vegetables.
About This Recipe
- It’s easy on the budget because, it uses cheap cuts of meat and inexpensive vegetables.
- It is an easy one pot meal because, it’s packed with plenty of vegetables. But it can also be eaten with rice, mashed potatoes, past or bread.
- This Hungarian Goulash can be made gluten free, just leave out the flour.
- It’s easy to prep the night before. Then just add it to the slow cooker the next morning, before you go to work. And at end of the day dinner is ready.
- It’s a great for meal planning and can be portioned for healthy freezer meals.
Read the ingredients list for this Hungarian goulash recipe! It’s got some slow cooking tips in it.
• Oil – Use a light flavoured oil, extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil. Avoid using a strong flavoured oil as this can affect the taste of the finished dish.
• Beef – Use a budget cut of stewing steak like gravy beef or chuck steak.
These meats are tougher and when cooked for a long time become soft, tender and full of flavour. If the meat is very fatty, remove some of the fat before cutting into 5 cm cubes.
• Bacon – I prefer to use a lean bacon to keep the fat content down. The bacon not only adds to the flavour but, also acts as a seasoning, by adding a little salt to the dish.
• Flour – This is optional and can be left out if you need the recipe to be gluten free. It is used to coat the meat before frying and helps to thicken the sauce during cooking.
• Onion and Carrot – Use a brown onion for this. Roughly dice the onion and you can do the same for the carrot, or just cut the carrot into ½ cm slices.
• Garlic – If you have it, use fresh garlic or you could use 2 teaspoons of bottled garlic.
• Potatoes – These can be peeled or left with the skin on. If you are leaving the skin on, give them a good scrub before using.
Cut the potatoes small (about 3 cm cubes) this will ensure that the potatoes are fully cooked.
If you want larger pieces of potatoes you can but, these should be half cooked before adding to the slow cooker. If you don’t do this the potatoes won’t be fully cooked at the end.
• Capsicum (bell peppers) – This adds another flavour level to the dish and also makes the dish look nice by adding colour.
• Caraway Seeds – These have and aniseed flavour, if you don’t like aniseed leave them out. The seeds can be added whole to the recipe or if preferred you can grind them to a powder.
• Paprika, Dried Oregano and Dried Bay Leaf – These are aromatic and add more flavour to the dish. The bay leaf should be removed after cooking.
• Stock – Use beef or chicken stock. I cook more with chicken stock than I do with beef, so I usually end up using chicken stock.
• Diced Canned Tomatoes – Adds flavour and moisture, it also adds body to the sauce.
• Tomato Paste – Helps enhance the tomato flavour and helps balance out the flavours.
• Wine – not only adds moisture and flavour to the dish, it also help tenderise the meat. You don’t need and expensive wine, most cheap wines these days are of good quality and could be used.
• Salt and Pepper – Should be used to season the dish to taste at the end of cooking.
• Sour Cream – Add this as a garnish just before serving.
Step by Step Instructions
There is some pre-cooking to do for this Hungarian Goulash.
Because, browned meat and cooked vegetables make the dish taste better. Partially cooking some of the ingredients helps to bring out flavours. These flavours you won’t get if you just threw everything raw into the slow cooker. It’s well worth the effort!
Step 1 – Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel to remove the excess fat. When cool, cut or crumble the bacon into small pieces.
In the same pan, fry the capsicum until it softens. Remove from the pan allow to cool and place it in the fridge for use later.
Step 2 – Trim away excess fat from the beef and cut into 5 cm pieces. Season well with salt.
Optional step: If using the flour light coat the meat in it. Shaking of any excess before frying.
Step 3 – Fry the meat in small batches until it becomes brown. You don’t want to over crowd the pan, because the meat will stew in its own juices.
It took three batches for me to cook the meat in my frying pan.
Step 4 – Once the meat has browned, place it straight into the bowl of the slow cooker.
Step 5 – Next, in the same frying pan, fry the onions and carrot together for 5 minutes over a medium/high heat or until the onions start to turn brown.
Add the garlic and fry for 1 more minute.
Stir in the paprika, tomato paste, caraway seeds, oregano, stock, diced tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and add a little salt if necessary.
Step 6 – Carefully pour the sauce over the meat in the slow cooker.
Step 7 – Add the potatoes and bay leaf.
Step 8 – Mix well, pushing the potatoes under the liquid. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8-9 hours or until the meat is tender and the potatoes cooked.
Then mix in the bacon and capsicum and cook for another 30 minutes on high.
Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve hot garnished with sour cream.
Make It Gluten Free
The flour is optional, and it’s okay to leave it out, if you want to make the dish gluten free.
The flour helps to make the sauce a little thicker and without it, the sauce is a little thin (but I do like it this way).
Check the consistency of the sauce just before you add the bacon, if you feel it needs thickening, make a slurry with 1 tablespoon cornflour and mix it in when you add the bacon.
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
How to prepare this the recipe night before.
Prepare everything as out lined above and cook the meat until it is no longer pink inside. However, instead of placing it in the slow cooker, place everything into a large bowl or pot. Allow the mixture to cool, then store in the fridge overnight.
In the morning pour everything into the slow cooker, put the lid on and set to low and leave for 8 hours.
When you get home add the bacon and capsicum and cook on high for 30 minutes.
What cut of beef is best for Hungarian goulash?
Cheaper tough cuts of meat that require long slow cooking are best for goulash. A stewing steak like gravy beef or chuck steak are the best.
Can Hungarian goulash be frozen?
Yes, Hungarian goulash can be frozen, allow the goulash to cool completely before freezing. It can be frozen in a large container for an easy family dinner or freeze it as individual servings to take to work.
This dish is quite filling by itself. However, if you are serving this for a dinner party or to feed a small crowd or just want more on the table, you can extend the dish by serving it with a few simple side dishes.
Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash
- Large fry pan
- 6 litre slow cooker
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 125 grams bacon
- 200 grams red capsicum seeded and chopped
- 1 kg gravy beef or chuck steak, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) cubes
- 200 grams onions roughly chopped
- 200 grams carrots, diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 level tablespoon plain flour or don't use flour to make this gluten free
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 250 ml beef or chicken stock
- 1 x 400 gram can diced tomatoes
- 500 grams potatoes cut into small pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil over a medium/high heat in a large frying pan. Add the bacon and cook, turning frequently, until crisp. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to cool. Coarsely chop and put aside. Then fry the capsicum (bell pepper) for about 5 mins over medium/high heat or until it softens. Put aside with the bacon.(These will be added to the slow cooker in the last half hour of cooking).
- Generously season the beef cubes with salt and pepper, and lightly coat in flour (if you are using it).
- In the same pan you cooked the bacon in, fry the meat in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides. Transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker.
- Next fry the vegetables. If there is an excessive amount of oil in the fry pan, remove some. Then add the onion and carrot and fry over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the flour and cook for 1 more minute.
- Stir in the paprika, tomato paste, caraway seeds, oregano, wine, chicken stock, diced tomatoes and bay leaf, bring to the boil then turn off the heat, taste and lightly season the sauce with salt and pepper.Note: Caraway seeds have a mild anise (liquorice) flavour. If you are not used to this spice, use less of it or, if you don’t like the flavour leave it out.
- Pour the sauce into the slow cooker along with the potatoes and bay leaf, mixing well.Note: Cut the potatoes into small pieces (2-3 cm cubes) before adding to the slow cooker, this will ensure that they are fully cooked at the end. If you want large chunks of potatoes in the goulash, half cook the potatoes before adding to the slow cooler.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for about 8-9 hours, or until the meat is tender and the potatoes are soft.
- Remove the lid and stir in the chopped bacon and capsicum and cook on high for another 30 minutes.
- Serve garnished with sour cream. It can also be served with mashed potatoes, bread rolls, a simple salad or steamed vegetables.
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Pocket Food Facts
Did You Know?
Potatoes contain 80% water.