German Style Goulash

And the Never-Ending Goulash Controversy Still Continues

Goulash Plate2

I know I have covered a lot of this in my Goulash Soup Recipe, but for those of you who are just joining us: What is Goulash? If you asked 100 people, you would probably get 200 different answers. If Goulash was on Facebook, it’s status would be “It’s Complicated”. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.

As you can see, the definition of Goulash changes as your location changes. First of all, let’s eliminate that glorified Hamburger Helper that some folks call Goulash. That isn’t Goulash. There is no macaroni in Goulash, although I do usually serve it with Spaetzle, which is a pasta, but it is not mixed in. Also, real Goulash is not made with ground beef. It contains chunks of meat. I usually use beef chuck.

In Hungary, the dish that is pronounced Goulash (Gulyás), is actually a soup. The dish that is closest to the goulash that most of us know is called Pörkölt.

Goulash Ingredients

Now that your heads are spinning, my recipe is based on the German dish Rindergulasch (Beef Goulash). Of course, there are also hundreds of variations, everyone claiming that theirs is the “authentic” version. Tomatoes or not. Potatoes or not. Green peppers, red peppers, carrots, what have you. It’s similar to the arguments over what constitutes Texas Chili.

I keep it pretty basic. In Germany, red wine is often used, but I use beer instead. I don’t use tomatoes either, but I do use a little tomato paste. As for potatoes and bell peppers, forget them. Not necessary.

Beer and Beef

Since it seems that many people received a shiny new electric pressure cooker over the holidays, I made this in my Instant Pot and wrote it for the electric pressure cooker, but of course it can be easily made in a stove top model.

A thickener such as flour could be used, but I prefer to just let it cook down for 7 minutes or so.

Cubed Chuck

Let’s start by browning the beef. Heat a few tablespoons of cooking oil with your sauté (or browning) setting on high. In batches, brown the meat on one side (this is enough to get the flavor of browning, but saves some time). Remove the beef to a plate.

Lower your heat setting to medium.

MandolineAdd another tablespoon of oil if necessary and sauté a couple medium onions until they soften. I like to slice them on “The Widowmaker” (my nickname for my mandoline), using the thinnest setting. Two sliced onions may look like a lot, but thinly sliced they will basically dissolve into the sauce, adding that oh-so-good oniony flavor.

Onions Sweating

When the onions soften a bit, add the meat back in.

Add in 2 heaping tablespoons of paprika, a teaspoon of caraway seeds, and a little salt and pepper. For full disclosure, I accidentally grabbed cumin seeds at the store instead of caraway. Since I was right in the middle of preparing dinner I substituted the cumin seeds, but I usually use caraway. I used Hungarian sweet paprika. If you like you can use half sweet and half hot, but I wouldn’t use only hot. That would change the flavor too much.

I also add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper at this point, but I will leave that up to you. I know some people seem to have a cayenne-phobia. 1/2 teaspoon doesn’t add much heat, but it is totally optional.

Plop in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and, you guessed it, stir!

Now, pour in a cup of beer, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons beef base (such as Better Than Bouillon) and 2 teaspoons of Kitchen Bouquet. A german lager works well for this. I used Stiegl, which isn’t German but Austrian. It’s not the best beer for drinking but works fine for cooking.

Toss a couple of bay leaves in.

Turn off the sauté mode and lock the top on the pressure cooker.

In manual mode, set the cooker for 25 minutes at high pressure.

When time is up, do a quick release and remove the cover.

With the sauté mode on medium, simmer the Goulash for 7 or 8 minutes to thicken a bit.

Goulash Finished

You can serve it with egg noodles, homemade Spaetzle (my favorite way), or boiled or mashed potatoes.

Goulash Plate3

I usually have red cabbage with it as well (you gotta have your veggies).

Hungarian Goulash
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: German/Hungarian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 3-4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2-1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-1.5" cubes
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (I used my mandoline)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup german beer
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons beef base (like Better Than Bouillon)
  • 2 teaspoons Kitchen Bouquet
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. In electric pressure cooker, heat 3 tablespoons oil on sauté mode, high setting (medium-high heat in stovetop pressure cooker)
  2. Brown meat in batches on one side only and remove to a plate
  3. Switch sauté mode to medium, add another tablespoon of oil if needed (for stovetop model, lower heat to medium)
  4. Sauté the onions until they soften
  5. Sprinkle in paprika, caraway seeds, salt, pepper and cayenne (if using)
  6. Sauté for a minute
  7. Stir in tomato paste
  8. Pour in the beer and water
  9. Add the beef base and Kitchen Bouquet, then stir
  10. Toss the bay leaves on top
  11. Turn off sauté mode and lock top on pressure cooker
  12. On manual mode, set pressure cooker for 25 minutes on high pressure
  13. When time is up, do a quick release
  14. Remove lid and switch to sauté mode
  15. On medium setting, simmer for about 7 minutes to thicken a bit
  16. Serve with noodles, rice or spaetzle


Goulash Soup (Gulaschsuppe)

The Great Goulash Debate Continues

Goulash Soup Spoon

Whoo Hooo! I passed the test! “What test?” you might ask. Well, it certainly wasn’t a math test, because I surely wouldn’t have passed that. The test of which I am speaking is the one I set up for myself whenever I make any German dish. You see, my wife is from Germany, so every time I make a German dish, I set it on the table without mentioning what it is and if she immediately recognizes it I consider myself over the first hurdle.

In this case, she took a bite and said “Goulash soup?” Yes! At least she could tell what it was. The next hurdle is if she actually thinks it is good, and she did!

Goulash Soup Ingredients

Now that that is out of the way, it’s time to tackle the tricky subject of Goulash. Goulash can be many things to many people. First off, let’s take American Goulash off the table right away. Why this mixture of ground beef, macaroni and tomato sauce that is basically Hamburger Helper from scratch procured the moniker “Goulash” is beyond me, but it is now out of the equation, so we will speak of it no more.

Now, what is real Goulash? It depends where you are at. In Hungary, Goulash (gulyás in Hungarian), is basically a soup. Porkolt, which is a stew and is mainly composed of meat and paprika is what is known as goulash in other parts of Europe. It is kind of a European equivalent of Texas Chile. In Germany, for instance, what they call Goulash is Porkolt. Gulyás is called Gulaschsuppe, or Goulash Soup. Now that I have cleared that up. What, you are still confused? You and me both, my friend.

Beef ChuckBut for the purposes of this post we are dealing with German-Style Goulash Soup. This is a hearty, beefy, paprika-y, oniony soup that is just the ticket for cooler weather. And, believe it or not we are having cooler weather right now after months of 90-degree plus weather. Add to that the fact that the wife and I are both fighting colds at the moment, this was the perfect dinner for the circumstances.

I made this in the Instant Pot Electric pressure cooker, so the instructions reflect that. Of course it can be made in any pressure cooker.

Chuck Cubed

Start off with 1-1/2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes. I like to buy a piece of meat and cut it up myself. It’s cheaper that way and only takes a couple minutes. You can also use pre-cut stew meat if you like, but you don’t always know what you are getting that way.

Chuck Browned2With the sauté setting on high, put a couple tablespoons of oil in the pot. In two batches, brown the meat on one side. Just browning one side is enough to get the flavors of browning but still saves some time.

Remove the meat to a plate.

Onions Bell Peppers

Lower the sauté mode to medium (on the Instant Pot, you will need to turn off the sauté mode then turn back on. If there isn’t much fat left, add another tablespoon of oil.

Sauté some sliced onion and a chopped green pepper until it starts to soften. Now, when I say “some” onion, I mean “lots” of onion. I used one onion, but it was huge. If your onions are more on the medium side, use two. When you first dump them in the pot, it might look like a ridiculous amount of onion, but when the dish is complete, it will be just right.

When the onion and pepper starts to soften, add in some garlic. I know that some fancy schmancy chefs may frown upon the use of a garlic press, but it saves time, and unless you have a recipe that calls for bits of chopped garlic, I like it just fine.

Meat With Spices

Continue to sauté for another minute and add a couple of tablespoons of paprika, a couple teaspoons of caraway seeds and some salt and pepper. The tablespoons of paprika can be a bit on the heaping side. This is a dish that originated in Hungary, after all. And speaking of Hungary, Hungarian sweet paprika is the best for this dish. Unfortunately, I went to the store to purchase some Hungarian paprika and they were all out, so I ended up using domestic Paprika. It was fine, but if you are able to get Hungarian paprika, go for it. If you like, you can mix some sweet and hot paprika, but I wouldn’t use entirely hot. Not that it’s that spicy, but it would change the flavor of the dish.

Chuck With Tomatoes

Add the meat back in and stir so that everything is coated with the paprika mixture.

Add a splash of wine just to deglaze. When I say splash, I mean just a couple tablespoons. A little wine goes a long way when cooking under pressure.


Put in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of honey, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and a carton of beef stock.

Turn off the sauté mode, toss in a couple bay leaves and slap the top on the cooker. Set manual setting for 15 minutes at high pressure.

Potatoes Cubed

While this is going, get some potatoes ready. Cut about 4 medium red potatoes into cubes about 1″ in size. Waxy potatoes work best for this. Russets will get mushy. I used 4 potatoes which came out to about a pound. Put the potatoes in a bowl of cold water until needed. This will help prevent oxidation, because nobody likes brown potatoes.

Potatoes Soaking

When the time is up, carefully do a quick release, being sure to stand well clear of the path of the steam. When pressure is released, remove top, put in the potatoes, and put the top back on. Bring back to high pressure for 5 minutes.

Goulash Soup With Potatoes

This time let the pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release.

Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream. I admit my dollops are rather large. I prefer a whallop of a dollop.

Goulash Soup Finished

Best served with some German bread and butter, or even a giant pretzel! Oh, and beer!


Goulash Soup (Gulaschsuppe)
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: German
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
A hearty warming soup. Just add some bread and you've got a whole meal.
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1" cubes
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 rounded tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) beef stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 4 red (or other waxy variety, about 1 pound) potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  1. With sauté setting on high, add 2 tablespoons oil
  2. Working in 2 batches, brown the meat on one side, then remove to plate
  3. Change sauté setting to medium and add another tablespoon oil, if needed
  4. Sauté onions and green pepper until they start to soften
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute
  6. To this, add the paprika, caraway seeds, salt and pepper
  7. Add the meat back in and stir until the meat and vegetables are coated with the paprika mixture
  8. Add a splash of red wine (a couple tablespoons) to deglaze, scraping browned bits off the bottom
  9. Add tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, honey, fire-roasted tomatoes and beef stock
  10. Stir everything together
  11. Turn off sauté mode
  12. Toss in bay leaves
  13. Lock top on pressure cooker, turn on manual setting and set for 15 minutes at high pressure
  14. While soup is cooking, wash potatoes and cut into 1" cubes
  15. Put potatoes into a bowl of cold water until needed
  16. When time is up, carefully do a quick release, being sure to be out of the path of the steam
  17. Drain potatoes and add to the pressure cooker
  18. Lock top on pressure cooker and on manual mode set for 5 minutes at high pressure
  19. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes then do a quick release
  20. Serve in bowls with sour cream on top

Pressure Cooker Sauerkraut Soup

I’m sure it’s authentic somewhere!

Soup Bowl3

This is one of those times I started searching for one thing, and a few hours and a couple hundred clicks later, I found myself wanting, no needing, to make Sauerkraut Soup. How a search for Potato Soup ultimately led to this, I am not sure, but I must say I am happy I stumbled upon this. Even though it turned out to be pretty warm the past couple days (as I predicted in my last post), this soup wasn’t so heavy that it was difficult to eat in such conditions, unlike the creamy potato soups that originally started my search.

And, it goes exceptionally well with beer, so that helped alleviate the warm weather issue!

Sauerkraut soup is popular in a lot of places, particularly areas of Eastern Europe, including Polish Kapusniak, German (such as this one from Heidi Klum), Russian Shchi, and even from the US Midwest.

They vary in the meats used, some using beef, some pork and some with multiple meats. Some use only sauerkraut, some a combination of sauerkraut and fresh cabbage.

My primary goal for my version was to follow the Three E’s – Effortless, Economical and Expeditious. And I think I succeeded, if I do say so myself. Using relatively inexpensive Kielbasa as the protein, and just 8 minutes under pressure take care of the economical and expeditious elements. Except for a little minor chopping and sautéing, most of the elements are just dumped in the pressure cooker, which covers the effortless aspect.

Sauerkraut Soup Ingredients

A pound of sausage would be fine, but I used 12 ounces because that seems to be the only size package that I can find around here. I used a 28 ounce jar of sauerkraut, you can use as much as a quart, or less if you would like your soup to be a bit more liquid.

Start by chopping the onion and potato. Run the garlic through a press. Cut the kielbasa in half lengthwise, then slice.

Sausage Chopped

Since I used the InstantPot, these instructions are for that, but it can easily be adapted to another electric or a stovetop cooker. I would keep the same time for whatever method you choose.

Using the sauté setting on medium, heat the oil.

Toss in the onion, sausage and garlic together. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent.

Dump in the potato, paprika, caraway seeds and tomato paste. Stir everything together.

Veg and Potato

Cook for another minute or so.

Add 5-6 grinds of black pepper and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt (you can adjust this later, the amount needed will vary depending on your sausage and sauerkraut.

Dump in the sauerkraut (including the liquid).

Adding Sauerkraut

Pour in the chicken stock.

Stir in two tablespoons brown sugar (you can add more later if necessary, depending on how sour your sauerkraut is) and a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce.

Toss in the two bay leaves.

Before Pressure

Turn off the sauté mode and place the top on the pressure cooker.

Turn the cooker to “soup” mode and set the timer for 8 minutes

InstantPot Soup Mode

When time is up, let pressure release naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release.

When pressure is completely released, remove the top.

Give it a taste and adjust the salt and brown sugar as necessary.

Soup Finished

Serve topped with sour cream (I highly recommend that you don’t skip this, it adds a lot to this soup) and a little fresh dill.

Rye Bread

With some good buttered rye bread on the side, this makes a complete meal.

Pressure Cooker Sauerkraut Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Eastern European
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Sauerkraut Soup with Potatoes and Sausage - Yum!
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 package (12-16 ounces) Kielbasa cut in half lengthwise then sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 4-5 medium potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into ½-3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 jar (28-32 ounces) sauerkraut
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in pressure cooker pot (if using electric PC, use sauté or brown mode on medium)
  2. Sauté onion, garlic and sausage until the onions start to get translucent
  3. Add paprika and caraway seed and sauté for another couple minutes
  4. Add a couple grinds of black pepper
  5. Add in the potatoes
  6. Drop in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  7. Stir everything together
  8. Pour in the chicken stock
  9. Add the brown sugar and Worcestershire Sauce and give it a stir
  10. Toss 2 bay leaves on top
  11. Place top on pressure cooker and turn heat to high (for electric PC, turn off sauté/brown mode, place top on PC and set for high pressure on "soup" mode)
  12. Set timer for 8 minutes
  13. When time is up, let pressure come down naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  14. Serve in bowls topped with sour cream and a little fresh dill


Pressure Cooker Oktoberfest Recipes

The Dreaded Clip Show Syndrome

I guess this post is the blog version of the TV “clip show”. You know, the cop-out shows in which something happens, such as our protagonist getting hit on the head with a bowling ball causing amnesia (I hate it when that happens), which necessitates the relating of various past episodes (and being able to use already shot footage), therefore jogging the memory of our hero until at the end his memory is completely restored and ready for more zany hijinks the following week.

Hmmm, I think I got a little off track here. What I really am trying to do, after noticing that the past couple days, people have been visiting my site after searching for Oktoberfest recipes. Since I have a few recipes that are perfect for the occasion, I thought it would be helpful to put links for them all in one spot.


Pressure Cooker German Potato Salad


What better to go with your giant beers than this tasty and bacon-y german potato salad.

Pressure Cooker Sausage and Sauerkraut


Quick sausage and sauerkraut, although you will need to spare a little of your beer for the pan!

Pressure Cooker Currywurst


A party-ready European street food fave!

Pressure Cooker Rouladen


Though a little more labor-intensive, this traditional German favorite will be the hit of your Oktoberfest party!

Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten


A quicker take on the Deutschland fave, without  the multiple day (or week) marinating!

Happy Oktoberfest, Everybody!

Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten

Marinate, Schmarinate! Sauerbraten without the wait!


Three to ten days! I ain’t waitin’ no three to ten days! Who has that kind of time and patience? Not me. Yet that is the standard marinating time for authentic sauerbraten. If I tried to make it the authentic way, I would probably have lost interest by the time it’s done marinating. Who knows if I would still be in a sauerbraten mood after all that? Or I might just forget about it, and when I finally discover it, I would wonder who the hell left their science project in the fridge. But the pressure cooker makes it possible to get some authentic flavor in less than a couple hours.


One thing I have noticed about the pressure cooker is that you can infuse a lot of flavor into things without marinating at all. Sure, you would probably notice a difference in a side by side taste comparison, but you can get pretty authentic flavor with the pressure cooker alone.


When making German-style dishes, the true test is when I set it in front of the S.O., who is from Germany, and if she can identify the dish without me giving any hints, then that is what I consider a success. And like the pressure cooker Rouladen before it (but I am guessing the rolled meat surrounding bacon, pickle and mustard could possibly be a giveaway without even tasting it), she took a bite and proclaimed “Mmmmmm… sauerbraten!” So, I know that at least the essence of the flavor was there.


I happened to be feeling lazy this particular day, so while at Trader Joe’s I picked up a container of pre-cut mirepoix, but in the recipe I wrote it the old fashioned way, since one doesn’t always have access to the lazy man’s version.


I served the sauerbraten with red cabbage and homemade Spaetzle. It would also go great with boiled or mashed potatoes and a vegetable such as green beans or roasted Brussels Sprouts.


Slice and serve! As usual, your feedback is appreciated and welcomed.

Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: German
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
The German classic, which usually takes as long as ten days, ready in less than a couple hours
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 pounds bottom round
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup broth (beef or chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 generous tablespoon pickling spice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 sprigs dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat
  2. Brown the meat on both sides, then remove to plate
  3. Add the celery, carrots and onion to the pressure cooker pot and saute until they start to soften
  4. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so
  5. Add a little salt and pepper
  6. Add the red wine, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and broth
  7. Put pickling spice and bay leaves in a spice bag or cheesecloth and add to pan
  8. Add raisins, brown sugar, ginger and dill
  9. Place meat back in pan
  10. Place cover on pressure cooker, turn heat to high and bring to high pressure
  11. When pressure is reached, reduce heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 25 minutes
  12. When time is up, remove from heat and let the pressure come down naturally.
  13. When pressure has released, remove the roast to a plate.
  14. Put pot with sauces over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until sauce has thickened (about 10 minutes).
  15. When sauce has cooled enough to taste it, adjust salt and pepper.
  16. Slice sauerbraten and serve topped with sauce.