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The Definitive Hot Hungarian Beef Goulash

the definitive beef goulash

A good goulash should be hearty, warming and spicy. Classic red paprika may be the leading lady of the dish, but it is the lesser known ‘hot Hungarian paprika’ that makes this recipe a truly Oscar worthy experience. Hot Hungarian paprika is, as its name suggests, hot. It is, however,  different in flavour from chilli – possessing a subtle earthy sweetness that adds a satisfying depth to its heat.

It can be difficult to source true hot Hungarian paprika as most supermarkets only stock mild paprika or maybe smoked Spanish paprika, but it is worth taking the effort to track it down. It is this spice that is the true taste of goulash. I have found both The Spicery and Seasoned Pioneers excellent sources of hot Hungarian paprika.

The best goulash is an exercise of patience – cooked slowly, over many hours. The cut of beef that works best for this is shin, which will eventually surrender its toughness for a melt-in-the-mouth texture unlike any other cut.

Beef is the most Concentrated Food Source of Zinc

You may have noticed that this weekly recipe spot always focuses on a specific nutritional issue. Whilst I am not sure that any excuse is needed to enjoy goulash, this weeks recipe was also chosen with a specific nutritional goal in mind. Yesterday, I wrote an article about how the mineral zinc can help treat acne. As you can see from the data table at the bottom of this recipe, the most concentrated food source of zinc is grass fed beef.

For vegetarians, plant sources of zinc are lentils, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  •  700g shin of beef, cut into chunks (use stewing steak if shin is unavailable)
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
  •  2 tbsp tomato puree
  •  2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp hot hungarian paprika (depends on how hot you like it)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 75ml red wine
  •  450ml beef stock, home-made or shop-bought
  •  2 tbsp flat leaf Parsley, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 150ml soured cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole dish or heavy-based saucepan.
  3. Sprinkle the steak with the flour and brown well, in batches, in the hot casserole dish. Set the browned meat aside.
  4. Add in the remaining olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic,  red pepper to the casserole dish and fry until softened, around 5 minutes.
  5. Return the beef to the pan with the tomato puree and paprika. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  6. Add in the tomatoes, wine and beef stock. Cover and bake in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Add stock if necessary.
  7. Sprinkle over the parsley and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Swirl the soured cream across the top and serve on a bed of soft noodles.


Food sources of zinc (data from World Healthiest Foods
Foods Rating
Beef4 oz132.74.0937.185.0very good
Lamb4 oz350.43.8735.181.8good
Sesame Seeds0.25 cup206.32.7925.362.2good
Pumpkin Seeds0.25 cup180.32.5222.912.3good
Chickpeas1 cup269.02.5122.821.5good
Lentils1 cup229.72.5122.821.8good
Cashews0.25 cup221.22.3121.001.7good
Quinoa0.75 cup222.02.0218.361.5good
Turkey4 oz166.71.9517.731.9goodA

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