Wiener Saftgulasch: Viennese Goulash

Gulasch ingredients

Die Katrin / CC by SA 2.0

  • Total: 3 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Originally, goulash came from the Hungarian plains and the people who raised cattle there. By the 1800s, the pepper-spiked stew made its way into the Viennese kitchen and turned into many variations on a theme. Esterhazy, veal-, salon, and fiaker-gulasch are just a few.

With lean beef and onions as main ingredients, "saftgulasch" is especially popular. The secret is to use at least three-quarters of a pound of onions for every pound of beef.


  • 3 1/2 pounds lean beef shank (boneless)
  • 2 3/4 pounds onions
  • 6 ounces lard (schmalz or oil)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (edelsüß)
  • 2 juniper berries (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut the beef into 2-ounce chunks, and peel and cut the onions into long strips.

  2. Heat part of the lard or oil in a large pan or Dutch oven, and brown the meat in batches. Remove to a plate.

  3. Sauté the onions until golden brown in the rest of the oil. Add the ground paprika, juniper berries, marjoram, caraway, sugar, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and brown in the oil for a very short time (30 seconds). Do not burn the ground paprika!

  4. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and lemon zest, and stir.

  5. Quickly add the cider vinegar and about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add bay leaf, if desired.

  6. Add the brown meat, and braise for 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, and add water as needed.

  7. When the meat is soft, add the rest of the water, and bring back to a boil. Season to taste with salt.

  8. To thicken the sauce, stir the flour together with a little cold water, and add in a thin stream to the stew. Stir until it comes to a boil.