The cold winter months, especially after the holidays, call for long-simmering braises and stews. Yes, the definition of comfort food right there. I’m partial to Hungarian and Czech dishes, mainly from my background and my dad’s cooking. When I came across this recipe years ago, it immediately spoke to me and practically jumped off the page ~ I knew I had to make it. A recipe for Hungarian Goulash with Pork and Sauerkraut, all my favorite flavors in a one-pot delicious winter stew. Along these lines, here are two other faves this time of year ~ Chicken Paprikash and Sweet-and-Sour Beef Cabbage Soup. Just sayin’
A traditional Hungarian goulash is made with beef and lots of paprika. Then there are versions with pork, and even sausage. And then there are creamy versions that add sauerkraut and sour cream (Szekelygulyas or Segedinsky Gulyas) ~ this is that one.
Essentially, we’re braising beef chuck and pork shoulder in onion and lots of paprika, then adding the sausage and sauerkraut. When all is tender, it goes in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and finishing it off with sour cream the next day ~ plan accordingly, it really does make a difference.
The creamy, tangy gravy is just sublime and so good over simple boiled potatoes or egg noodles. I caught Meathead dipping a very large spoon into the pot, several times, while it was finishing on the stove ~ I had to swat his arm away. Hungarian Goulash with Pork and Sauerkraut, now that’s some winter comfort food sure to please the whole family.
Creamy goulash with beef, pork, sausage and sauerkraut and lots of Hungarian paprika.
- ¾ lb Hungarian sausage (smoked with paprika, like kolbasz), sliced cross-wise in ½-inch rounds ~ or other smoked sausage like kielbasa
- 1½ lbs boneless beef chuck, cut in 1½-inch pieces
- 1½ lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut in 1½-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup bacon drippings or vegetable oil ~ I prefer the bacon fat, use that if you can
- 4 lbs yellow onions, finely chopped (about 4 large onions)
- ⅓ cup sweet Hungarian paprika
- ½ tsp smoked paprika ~ I added a little smoked paprika to make up for the fact I used Polska Kielbasa because I couldn't find Hungarian smoked sausage
- 1 lb sauerkraut, drained (but not rinsed)
- 3-4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, just enough to cover mixture
- 4 bay leaves
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup sour cream
- Snipped chives, optional, for serving
In large skillet, fry sausage rounds until lightly browned on both sides. Remove to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Add half the beef and pork to the same skillet and brown all over, about 4-5 minutes a side. Transfer browned meat to a plate.
In large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, heat bacon fat and then add onions. Cook over moderate heat until softened and very lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle the paprika(s) over the onions and stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
Stir in the beef and pork pieces, sauerkraut, bay leaves, thyme and enough stock to just cover the meat/sauerkraut mixture (3 to 4 cups). Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the smoked sausage and continue simmering, covered, until the beef and pork are very tender, about another hour. Season with salt and pepper and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Reheat the goulash until very hot, remove bay leaves. Stir in one cup of sour cream and heat until warmed through. Check for salt and pepper, sprinkle with chives and serve, with egg noodles or boiled potatoes and extra sour cream on the side.
The dishes I grew up on usually had some caraway seed in them, especially my mom's sauerkraut. You certainly could add some here, along with the paprika.
*Adapted from Food&Wine, 2002