There’s been a resurgence of classic dishes in recent years, and the traditional Hungarian goulash that makes mouths water the world over is no exception. Maybe you’re like me and remember goulash from your childhood, it’s the fantastic meal that might have had macaroni and ground beef and it cooked all day, slowly making the whole house smell delicious. The macaroni is what makes it American, but did you know this is a variation of a traditional Hungarian meal that dates back centuries. Today we are going to take a deep dive into both the newer versions and where these meals came from originally. Read ahead in our article titled goulash: 3 surprising facts.
First let’s look at the history of goulash. Goulash is the Hungary’s traditional stew. The goulash’s origins date back to the ninth century, when the Magyar shepherds used to have stews. Before going out with their flocks, they prepared the portable food stock by gradually cooking meats with onions and other flavors until the liquids have really been absorbed. They would then dry the stew in the open sun and pack it into bags made using the stomachs of sheep. At the mealtime, they would add water to the portion of the mead for reconstituting it into the stew or soup. The goulash originates from Gulyas which is a Hungarian word and it is pronounced about the same just with L silent. This word is used for the Hungarian cowboy or Herdsman. As the herdsman world leave for the cattle drives, they’d butcher the weak cows that might not make their drive and make the soup or stew from them.
Something you may not know about goulash is the differences between the traditional Hungarian dish and the new classic American style. The huge disparity is the American version macaroni noodles, it’s what the majority of individuals these days think of when they hear goulash, meat and macaroni sauce. But there’re other main disparities comprising what’s really served with goulash. The Hungarian style has usually been served with Hungarian dumplings or Hungarian style noodles. For the America style it is not strange to see this amazing dish served with rice or mashed potatoes.
Another interesting fact about goulash that’s rarely reported is the fraught history of paprika and its role in the evolution of the dish. During ancient times this much sought after spice was difficult to obtain and this led to herdsman of the Hungarian plains going to great pains to acquire paprika through warfare and any other means at their disposal. Eventually trade opened up new avenues for the procurement of paprika and once it became more common it entered the kitchens of not just nobles but the common people as well. Today goulash and paprika go hand in hand but for many centuries there was much societal upheaval over just this simple spice.
So, where does the word goulash come from? Although the food itself began gaining the ground in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, the goulash word dates back to the Árpád-dynasty. The cause for that is that the goulash isn’t just the name of the food but also a terminology utilized for describing the Hungarian Shepherds. Since goulash became well-liked among the peasants, the food’s name got linked with the shepherds.
Now that you a bit about goulash you might want to try it yourself. There’s really no substitute for cooking this classic dish yourself or with your whole family. If you really want to get a feel of the historical goulash that made this dish so famous, I would suggest slow cooking the traditional Hungarian style goulash over a whole day. No matter how you cook it or what style you decide on, one thing is clear, you will take part in a long tradition of eating an amazing dish that has traveled the world and remained popular for families for centuries