Czech Food at Its Best: Learn to Make a Delicious Guláš at Home
You might be thinking Guláš was originally a Hungarian dish… Well, there’s certainly some truth in that. But the Czech version is so much different and so special that it deserves its own recognition! While the Hungarians eat it as a soup, in Prague you’ll find guláš in the form of a thick stew, accompanied by our traditional bred dumplings.
To give you an idea before we delve into the cooking itself, guláš is typically made with beef or pork that is cooked in a rich and flavorful sauce made from onions, paprika, and other spices. Some people also add red wine, but the local specialty in Prague is to add beer. Yes, beer! In this recipe though, we’ll stick to the basics and show you the easiest way to prepare guláš in your own kitchen.
Where to Get Guláš While in Prague?
Guláš is among the most popular Czech dishes and you’ll most probably come across this classic in any restaurant offering traditional cuisine. Any of the Lokál Pubs would be a safe bet, but our favourite spot is restaurant U Mecenáše, where you can try the local Prague variation of guláš with beer. Join us on our Old Town Food Tour to try some delicious guláš together with other traditional delicacies!
If you ask any Czech though, they will tell you the best guláš is the one made by their mom. Let’s check out this family recipe and you’ll never have to go out for guláš again!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- 1 pound of beef or pork
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 pound of onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
- 1 cup of beef broth
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the beef or pork into small cubes and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beef or pork and cook until browned on all sides.
- Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add the onion and cook until it’s golden brown – that will give the sauce its characteristic brown color.
- Stir in the paprika and caraway seeds, and cook for another minute.
- Add the beef broth, water, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.
- Stir in the marjoram and garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Serve the guláš with a side of bread dumplings and enjoy!
For the best experience, garnish your guláš with thinly-cut red onion and/or chili peppers.
And if you’re feeling extra Czech, go ahead and prepare your own dumplings:
Houskové knedlíky (Dumplings)
- 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cups stale bread – cut into ⅓-inch cubes
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Combine the flour with salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and place the yeast there, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Pour in ⅓ cup of lukewarm milk and stir using a fork. Let it sit for 5 minutes until the yeast dissolves.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining milk with an egg. Add the mixture to the bowl with flour and yeast.
- Knead the dumpling dough until smooth. Use your hands or a kitchen mixer with a proper attachment. Add a bit of flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Only now add the cubed bread and combine.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes in a warm place until it doubles in size.
- Meantime, prepare a pot with low boiling salted water to boil the dumplings.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and form a cylinder shape out of each piece. One loaf should be about 8-10 inches long and 3 inches thick.
- Boil the dumplings in simmering salted water for 18 minutes, flipping the roll halfway through. Cover the pot with a lid while boiling.
- Take out the cooked dumplings carefully. Prick them immediately a few times with a fork. Pricking the rolls when taken out of the water is necessary, otherwise the steam would remain inside, and the dumplings wouldn’t be as fluffy as they should be.
- Slice the dumplings into ½-inch thick pieces and serve them warm with your delicious guláš. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this recipe and would like to get into more cooking, check out how to prepare a delicious svíčková, the kings of Czech cuisine.
December 16, 2022