Chef Louis Szathmary’s Hungarian Beef Goulash Recipe

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Chef Louis Szathmary

Photo Courtesy of The Culinary Cellar

Izzy just messaged me to say she and a few gal pals have planned a spontaneous trip from London to Budapest.  They leave tomorrow morning.  How fun is that! My response – #GoulashTime

Thinking of Budapest reminded me of our close family friend, the beloved Chef Louis Szathmary, owner of the landmark Chicago restaurant, The Bakery. Chef Louis was originally from Budapest and became a good friend of my dad’s in the Chicago days.  What I remember most were his fabulous New Year’s Day Open Houses.  Yes, the food was delicious and the setting divine but what really stands out was the cast of characters in attendance.  One year we met a couple and their children – the boy was named “Boy” and the girl, “Girl”.  I sometimes wonder what they are doing now.

One of my prized possessions is his very first cookbook, The Chef’s Secret Cook Book.  If I remember correctly, he gave us a copy at his New Year’s bash back in 1971 (or maybe 1972) and I vaguely recall my mom spending hours preparing his amazing Hungarian Goulash recipe later that same week as a special treat for my birthday.  Isn’t it fascinating how the mere mention of Budapest can trigger such an avalanche of wonderful memories.

Chef Louis Szathmary’s Hungarian Goulash Recipe

6 Servings

2 lb beef from the chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes Chef’s Salt (see below)
black pepper 1/4 lb lard or chicken fat
1 lob onions, peeled and finely chopped 2 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tbp flour 3 cups water or beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste 1 tsp caraway seeds
2 cups sour cream  
  1. Season meat with Chef’s Salt and additional black pepper
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, heat the lard to the smoking point
  3. Brown the meat in the lard, turning with a spatula so that it browns on all sides
  4. Add onions; cook until they become limp
  5. Sprinkle the paprika and flour over the meat and onions.  Cook for 2 minutes on low heat, stirring to keep the mixture from sticking
  6. Add the liquid, tomato paste, and caraway seeds. Stir.
  7. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender
  8. Check occasionally to see if there is enough liquid; if necessary add more
  9. Serve from a large casserole with the sour cream on the side in a sauce boat.

CHEF’S SECRET: Whenever available, add 1/2 bell pepper, cut into strips , or 1 whole Hungarian pepper together with the liquid and tomato paste.  Definitely use imported Hungarian or Spanish paprika; no other will give the flavor.  But, if you can’t get either, add 1/4 tsp sugar to the paprika you are using.

If you double this recipe, by all means buy a piece of shank, with the marrow bone in it if possible, and add this to the goulash.  It will greatly improve the taste.  Some of the goulash may be frozen for later use.

Chef’s Salt Recipe

Mix 1 cup salt, 1 tbsp Spanish paprika, 1 tsp group black pepper, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, 1/3 tsp celerity salt, 1/4 tsp garlic salt.

Be careful to use garlic salt, not garlic powder

Chef Louis Szathmary Cookbooks

Interested in exploring more recipes from Chef Szathmary?  We have tracked down his cookbooks!

Dare to be Great!

1 Comment

  • Glenda
    November 12, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    I made this and it was delicious. I remember the Bakery.


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