Goulash? Or is it Paprikas? How about Pörkölt?

by Sunita on October 20, 2009

Yes, autumn is well and truly here in our neck of the woods. The cool, crisp air,the colourful leaves adorning the trees and falling as the branches are being swayed by the blustery winds is a pleasure to behold. The “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” is here to stay!

As the weather gets cooler, those red noses, and numb hands need warming up and hearty, comforting dishes are just the things needed. Autumn brings with it, it’s own bounty of natural goodness- squashes, pumpkins, blackberries, figs and so many others, just waiting to be picked up and enjoyed. The other night, a sweet butternut squash was paired with some lamb to make a wonderful pot of stew.

This stew is based on three Hungarian stews; namely Goulash, Pörkölt and Paprikas. These traditional Hungarian stews are considered to be the national dishes of Hungary.

  • Pörkölt is a stew with boneless meat, paprika, some vegetables and no potato.
  • Goulash is a s a stew with more gravy or a soup (using meat with bones, paprika, caraway, vegetables and potato or different tiny dumplings or pasta simmered along with the meat);
  • Paprikás (using only meat, paprika and thick heavy sour cream). (source)

I had heard of goulash but never made it. In fact, when we brought home a wonderful shoulder of lamb, it was well on it’s way to a curry or a biryani. It was then when the bulb lit up, and with the  weather, a bowl of hearty stew sounded wonderful. Armed with the above information and a little input from each of the above stews, a dish started to form which completely blew us away. The stew was inspired in some way from allthe three stews mentioned above.

I would have loved to have added other vegetables too, but as luck would have it, it was just one of those days when there were not too many choices available in the vegetable crisper. So it was just butternut squash and the lamb that played the starring roles in this dish. And my, oh my! How perfectly they played their parts! The pieces of succulent lamb and sweet butternut squash  in the thick tomato based gravy spiced with paprika and cumin along with bay leaves and sprigs of lemon thyme and a hint of heat from chillies. Hmmm, it was heavenly indeed.

Here’s how I made it-

What’s needed-

500 gms of butternut squash, chopped
1 kg shoulder of lamb, cut into bite sized pieces
2 onions, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 bay leaves
3-4 tblsp of oil
1 tblsp of cumin seeds
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tblsp paprika
1 tsp crushed red chillies
1 can of plum tomatoes (400 gms)
3C of stock ( more or less)
2tblsp of soured cream( or double cream)
salt to taste

How to-

  1. Pre heat the oven at 220 deg C.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the lamb pieces and stir till evenly browned.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and cook till the oinons soften.
  4. Add the cumin powder, paprika and crushed red chillies. Stir well.
  5. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves and stir till the tomatoes break down and are soft and bubbling.
  6. Add the stock, lemon thyme and check the seasoning . Bring to a  boil and remove from heat.
  7. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, cover and transfer to the middle rack of the oven for about 35-40 minutes or till the lamb is nearly cooked. Add the squash, stir, cover and bake for a another 10-15 minutes or till the squash is tender. Keep an eye to prevent the squash from turning  mushy.
  8. Stir in the cream and  return to the oven to heat through for a couple more minutes.
  9. Serve hot with bread/ pasta or even rice.

This was a chunky , hearty dish, full of bold flavours. Just look at the colour!  And how we enjoyed it! Straight from the dish , it went into bowls with these dill and soda bread rolls on the side. All four of us were silent, except for the  “yums” and sighs over the dish. A perfect autumnal dish- warm and hearty.

The lamb was cooked just right and the squash held their shape and added it’s sweetness. The gravy was sensational. It was a filling meal and I had made quite a generous portion. So, the next day, we looked forward to lunch with the same eagerness and the swooning and sighing began all over again. Probably, never in the history of leftovers have there been so much of swooning and sighing as we did on that afternoon over the bowl of leftover lamb and butternut squash stew!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Neeta October 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Stunning pictures as usual Sunita…..Wow!!!

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2 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:32 am

Thanks Neeta :-)

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3 Soma October 20, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Love it! My tummy is protesting to the boring salads going in for so many days. What a hearty warm meal.

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4 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:33 am

Soma, this was a hearty meal indeed; hope you’re feeling better .

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5 Rosa October 21, 2009 at 12:41 am

Your goulash looks so appetizing! Perfect with those temperetures!

Cheers,

Rosa

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6 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

Thanks Rosa; yes, it was very heart and warm :-)

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7 gaile October 21, 2009 at 2:16 am

oh that is positively beautiful! Thank you for sharing this – I will definitely try this recipe soon as the weather is starting to turn to fall, and the chill makes this the perfect dish.

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8 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

Thank you gaile; do give it a try :-)

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9 Arunah October 21, 2009 at 5:09 am

I would not hesitate to add some chopped potatoes and even a jar of smoked red peppers…
But as it is, it sounds – and looks – absolutely gorgeous ! Thank you !

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10 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:35 am

Arunah, you can add so many other things to it to make it even more wholesome and smoked red peppers sound so nice :-)

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11 Arunah October 21, 2009 at 5:11 am

… and of course, some fennel seeds…

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12 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:35 am
13 Happy Cook October 21, 2009 at 6:39 am

That just looks so comforting and warm in these cold days.

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14 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:36 am

Thank you F :-)

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15 The Cooking Ninja October 21, 2009 at 6:49 am

Your goulash looks delicious. I love goulash. One of my friends used to make very delicious goulash but as she hasn’t made them for years, she can’t remember how to cook it anymore.

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16 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:37 am

Thanks Pam; maybe you could forward this recipe to your friend, and she could make it again :-)

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17 Bethany October 21, 2009 at 9:38 am

What a combination. Perfect for a cold evening cozied up under a blanket! Perfect.

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18 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:37 am

Thanks Beth, yues, wonderful for chilly evenings :-)

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19 Alka October 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm

lovely combo!! its looks delicious.. and the colors, jumps out from the screen!

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20 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

Thanks Alka :-)

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21 Bong Mom October 21, 2009 at 1:03 pm

This is a MUST DO, looks gorgeous

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22 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

It tastes good too; try it Sandeepa :-)

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23 Nicisme October 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm

It’s turned cold here too! I love butternut squash and this looks perfect for a cold day, very warming!

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24 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

Thanks Nic :-)

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25 superchef October 21, 2009 at 8:46 pm

awesome pictures..the stew looks very colourful and appetising!!

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26 Sunita October 22, 2009 at 8:39 am

Thank you, we did love it a lot :-)

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27 Sudeshna October 22, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I haven’t cooked lamb ever, but whenever I prepare mutton I love putting a little bit of papaya to it. Loved your recipe sunita, will try this out with mutton.

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28 diva October 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

yay for autumn, my favourite season. and sunita, this stew is so what i want right now. eating this with some really good crusty bread in front of the telly wrapped up in a giant thick throw. mmm. beautiful pictures as always! x

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29 Gera @ SweetsFoods October 22, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Adore these national Hungarian stews, are immensely rich in flavors, ideal for cold days :)

Cheers!

Gera

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30 Sunita October 23, 2009 at 10:54 am

Yes, aren’t they wonderful; we absolutely adored it :-)

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31 Cynthia October 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Whatever it is, it looks darn tasty!

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32 Sunita October 23, 2009 at 10:54 am

Thanks Cynthia, it was very tasty indeed :-)

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33 Anjali October 3, 2012 at 4:56 am

Dear Sunita,
What’s the Indian equivalent of butternut squash? What can I use, and do you think I’ll need to make any modifications to the cooking method?
Thanks, Anjali

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34 Sunita October 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

Anjali, you can substutute the squash with pumpkin and cook in the same way.

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