Venison & Beef Goulash

First, a little history ...

Goulash, or Gulyás, is a Hungarian meat stew seasoned with paprika.

Bográcsgulyás is a thick stew made by cattle herders and stockmen, the Bográc being the large metal cooking cauldron that the Gulyás is cooked in.

Favouring fattier cuts of meat where the collagen turns into gelatin while cooking, goulash is not thickened with any kind of roux.

This is starting to sound perfectly paleo ... in fact, so perfectly paleo it would be a shame to include traditional potato in the stew, even if us paleo plussers and primals are quite happy with this.

Let's make it really pure, both in terms of paleo and in terms of the heritage of the dish ...

Right, get your Bográc out! I jest - a heavy based lidded sauté pan is fine, and this is what I used.

Begin by softening some onion in some pork fat or beef dripping, and in another skillet, brown off the meat in stages and add to the main cooking pan.

I guess traditionally, the meat would simply get bunged into the Bográc, spices thrown over, water poured in and then left to cook, veggies and herbs tossed in later on.

How much? Well, I went with a couple of pounds of diced beef and one large onion. I then had the genius idea of chucking in about a pound of venison and so added another half onion.

So, that's your onion and meat ...

Next, some herbs, spices and garlic.

I went with a good bunch of parsley, roughly chopped until I got down to the stems and then fine chopped, several cloves of garlic and then the key ingredient: smoked paprika, which I procured from a Polish deli, although I suspect paprika is paprika is paprika, but it's nice to get something from the right part of the world.

I also added in a finely chopped Romano Pepper, a long sweet red pepper, and some shredded pepperoni for a spicy bite, more fat and the rounding flavour that it brings. I figured Hungarian herdsmen would have a spicy sausage in their bag for flavour.

Beef stock (about a pint) and a damn good grind of black pepper, top up with water, bring to the boil and then raise your Bográc up, off the fire, or turn the burner down to low.

That's it ... get about your day.

I went for a good walk over to a local vantage point called Beacon Hill - about eight miles round trip. So, maybe three hours later, maybe four, I get home and the meat is really tender.

Lid off, heat up and get it reducing. Your goulash should have a thick, gelatinous sauce by the time it hits the plate. Just before serving, check for saltiness and add in some fresh parsley.

Veggies! I cubed some swede, boiled it, mashed it and served it out with a generous number of butter cubes over the top.

Gorgeous! Another time I will simply cook this over an open fire.


  1. Looks really good. I'm a big fan of this sort of food - especially in the winter after a walk. Enjoyed this type of meal when I went to Prague, add a dark beer and your set!

    1. ... and just as we thought summer was over and a long autumn about to commence, we get another week of hot weather. Here's hoping for more of the same.

      This worked very well as a warm weather meal, too. I enjoyed it with some red wine. I know that doesn't sound like a cooling combination, but a lighter French (Languedoc in my case) with a little chilli tickle and it's good warm weather food. Heavier in earthy herbs, a deep Burgundy and you've got a winter warmer.

      Thanks for stopping by, Gary. For the other readers here, Gary co-runs Primal Britain. Click his name and check them out.