Hungarian Goulash with Spaetzle

Yield: 4 servings


For the Goulash:

  • 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of caraway seed
  • 1- 3-pound chuck roast, trimmed and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cups of Hungarian red wine or other red wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar

For the Spaetzle:      

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg or 1/2 nutmeg, grated

1- 250 ml container of sour cream


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F and turn on your convection fan if you have one.
  2. For the goulash heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onions, garlic and peppers and slowly cook without browning, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the paprika and caraway seeds and continue cooking at very low heat for a minute or two. Toss in the beef, carrots, red wine, bay leaves and salt. Continue cooking just to bring the works to a simmer, then transfer to the oven.  Cover and bake until the beef is tender, about 3 hours. Stir in the vinegar.
  3. For the spaetzle whisk together the dry ingredients, evenly distributing the finer powders amidst the coarser ones.  In another bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.  Stir the wet and dry ingredients together forming a firm sticky batter.  Rest the works as the elastic batter relaxes improving tenderness and the flour absorbs the moisture improving chewiness, 15 minutes or so.
  4. Fill your largest pot with lots of hot water, lots of salt and lots of heat.  Bring the works to a boil as the spaetzle batter rests.  Position a colander with large 1/4” holes over the boiling water.
  5. Transfer some or all of the relaxed batter into the colander and use a rubber spatula to force it through the holes into the simmering seasoned water below.  The spaetzle cook very quickly.  They’ll sink then almost immediately float to the surface when they’re done.  Stir gently so they don’t stick together.  Strain them out with a slotted spoon and repeat with any extra batter.  Strain them out with a slotted spoon and repeat with any extra batter.  If you don’t have a colander try a standard box grater held on its side.  Load it with batter and rub the works back and forth over and through hits largest holes.
  6. Nestle the spaetzle with the goulash and serve with a dollop of sour cream. This recipe is dedicated to the memory of Ann Szemba, my Hungarian friend who traveled with me to Hungary and taught me this dish.