This recipe for Hungarian Stew is one of my favorite all-time food memories.
Everyone has food memories, right? That amazing grilled steak you had at that restaurant a few years ago. Or that crazy-indulgent dessert your grandmother used to make for you as a kid? Those awesome little red, white and blue popsicles they had in your school cafeteria? Isn’t it wonderful how so many of our life experiences involve food….the flavors, the surroundings, the smells. You can literally taste that memory.
So let’s go back about 15 years to one of my favorite girls’ weekends ever. To the meal I have been craving for over a decade. (Hungarian Stew on a girls’ weekend? Yep.)
Get the Paprika Out, folks. Time to Make Hungarian Stew.
Fifteen years ago, my friend Gabi invited me and our friend Jenny over to her house for girls’ weekend.
No, not a bar-hopping party adventure. A relaxing weekend at home watching chick flicks.
(For the record, I’m pretty sure we watched Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes and The Spitfire Grill. If there is anyone in the lady-universe that has not seen these movies, please do yourself a favor and check them out.)
So Jenny and I packed up our favorite pajamas and headed over for a weekend of snacks, movie and wine.
When I say snacks…we thought we would be eating literal snacks. Things like cheese and crackers, chips and dip, and easy veggies.
Nope. Jenny and I should have known better. After all, we were spending the weekend with the queen of the kitchen. Gabi can throw it down when it comes to food.
More of our favorite food memories:
Once we started smelling bacon and saw the beef chunks and paprika, we knew we were in for something amazing.
And we were right. Our lovely and talented BFF made us homemade Hungarian Stew. From total scratch. Loads of paprika, beef, and vegetables, seasoned with broth and wine.
This is the most addictive stew / soup I have ever eaten in my life. We ate bowl after bowl of this with hunks of crusty bread. (Yes, the hunks of bread were the ONLY hunks in the picture that weekend. Girls rule, boys drool!)
We couldn’t stop eating! The tangy and savory broth with the chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots and sweet bell peppers is so delicious.
I don’t have Gabi’s exact recipe. And actually, neither does she. What started from a basic Hungarian Stew recipe gets tweaked every time.
That is the beauty of a great meal. Adding your own touches, making your own memories.
Gabi and I both agree you HAVE to use a drinking quality dry red wine with your broth. (In other words, if it is so cheap you wouldn’t drink it, then don’t use it in your Hungarian Stew.)
Another tip: use loads of paprika. Let the paprika cook with the beef and vegetables to bring out the smoky flavor. Use a good Hungarian Sweet Paprika.
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This recipe is not quite as wonderful as the Hungarian Stew we had weekend. But it is pretty dang close.
You know what is missing? The weekend, the friends, and the laughter. Maybe we should have a Hungarian Stew Reunion weekend? Or maybe start a new food memory with another amazing recipe.
- 1 chuck roast trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes (any size roast will do)
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 2 potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 carrots large chopped
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and large chopped
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper seeded and large chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cups beef broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup dry red wine drinking quality!!
- 1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes undrained
- 1/3 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
- 2 TB apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp minced garlic about 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 TB honey
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces. In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon on medium high heat until well browned. Remove the bacon (save for later).
- In the bacon drippings, cook the cubed stew meat, onions, and garlic until the meat is slightly browned. Stir in the paprika and cook and stir for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, undrained tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook and stir for another 10 minutes. The mixture will be thick.
- Gradually stir in the beef broth, water, and red wine. Stir, and add the cooked bacon, vinegar honey and bay leaves. Increase heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Serve with your favorite crusty bread.