Day 14: Hungarian Goulash

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A thoroughly authentic recipe for Hungary’s national dish, Goulash! The depth and richness of the flavor is simply out-of-this-world delicious!

Hungary’s history has been one of hardship and heartbreak.  But the passion and stamina of soul has remained in the hearts of the Hungarian people.  I’ve always been touched by Hungary’s national anthem, Himnusz, or “hymn”, written by the poet Kölcsey.  Their anthem is a poetic prayer and unlike most anthems that focus on an expression of national pride, the Hungarian anthem is a direct, heartfelt plea to God.  In the mid-20th century, during the years of strongest communist rule in Hungary, the words were not song, only the music was played.  The communist government asked two of the most acclaimed artists of that time, a poet and composer, to rewrite the national anthem.  Both refused.  The next communist leader also tried, unsuccessfully, to have it changed.  Hungary’s national anthem remains Himnusz.  The first three lines:

O God, bless the nation of Hungary With your grace and bounty Extend over it your guarding arm

I love Hungarian food.  Their breads and smoked sausages are fantastic, as are their meats, stews, sauces, desserts.  Today we are going to share the national dish of Hungary:  Goulash, or, as Hungarians call it, gulyás, meaning “herdsman.”  Its origins date back to the 9th century Magyar shepherds as a simple meat and onion stew prepared in heavy iron kettles known as bogracs.  In the 15th century invading Ottoman Turks introduced a new spice to Hungary, paprika.  While the rest of Europe remained lukewarm towards this red chili pepper from the New World, Hungary embraced it and paprika has since become a defining element of Hungarian cuisine.