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Prague: Czech Out This Goulash

Beth Mckee Deckard's recent post about Prague, "Sharp Claws and Lager" brought back memories of the trip my family took thirty years ago. This was 1990, and we drove from Milan, where we were stationed, for the May bank holiday weekend.

The Velvet Revolution had re-instated a liberal democracy the year before, and what had been Czechoslovakia was about to become the independent countries of Czech Republic, Slovakia. There were sign postings everywhere for no pictures, no this, no that. This was the waning of the Cold War, and we felt as though we were being watched from every corner. It was hectic and a very exciting time to be in the country.

We stayed with our dear friends, the Daly family, who insisted we experience all things Prague. They did not disappoint. But due to the political unrest, food shortages were a it of an issue. We indulged in pastries (trdelnik, strudl, makovy) whilst touring and Carole Daly's savvy shopping skills kept us fed in the evening.

There are many traditional dishes of the region, and most of them look like stew. Except the baked mincemeat which is, in fact, meatloaf. The goulash was by far my favourite stew option, and one that I have made many times over the years.

Goulash soup has it's origins in the shepherding regions of Hungary. The heartiness and economy of the dish helped spread to neighbouring eastern European countries. The recipes evolved to reflect the products available in their area as well as the season.

In the Czech and Slovak Republics, goulash is usually made with beef and pork, sometimes combined. It is Served with boiled mash, sauerkraut or steamed bread dumplings. In Slovakia, with bread. In pubs the dish is often garnished with slices of fresh onion, caraway seeds and spices. It is often accompanied by beer. Beer can be also added to the stew while cooking. Seasonal varieties include venison or wild boar goulashes.

When we had goulash thirty years ago it came with tiny dill pickles. I also remember something about sliced hot dogs but that may have been another night.

The following recipe is a combo of several tests. I served my goulash over dirty mashed. If you are cutting carbs, serve over fresh steamed veg. This is such a tasty and aromatic dish and a welcome change from normal winter stew.


1 Pound stew beef or half beef and half pork

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cube beef stock, or one cup of fresh beef stock

1 cup water plus extra to cover beef

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon of the following: caraway seed, marjoram, hot pepper flakes

2 T flour

2T tomato paste

salt and pepper

1/2 cup of an inexpensive robust red wine, plus one cup poured into a round bodied glass with a high stem and placed into my hand.*

Dredge the beef in flour and shake off excess. Sauté the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil. Add the beef and brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook down a bit. Next add the beef stock and bring it to a bit of a boil. Add the tomato paste and the spices, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook on low for about an hour to soften the meat. I often use beef tips because the cook a bit quicker. If your meat seems tough, don’t add the tomato paste until it’s cooked a while.

Serve over veg, potatoes, noodles, rice or bread dumplings. Serves 4

UZIVAT SI....enjoy!

* None of my recipes call for wine, but I find wine gives the dish a richer flavour. Who knows for sure, I might be drunk.

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About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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