In the Czech kitchen: How to make the perfect beef goulash

Naše Maso master butcher František Kšána reveals the best meat to use in this classic Czech goulash recipe.

Klára Kvitová

Written by Klára Kvitová Published on 22.02.2023 14:49:00 (updated on 02.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Goulash is one of the most popular Czech dishes of all time. It is filling, works as a hangover cure, and is easy to make at home. The key to the perfect goulash is in the choice of meat and the patience of the chef – a good goulash cooks slowly and for several hours.

Goulash's original roots can be traced to neighboring Hungary. The first recipes for the Czech version only first appeared in the mid-19th century in the "Household Cookery" treatise by Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová, considered the "mother of Czech cuisine."

Since then, the dish has taken up residence in Czech cuisine, restaurants, and households. Pork or poultry can replace beef, but the original goulash was made from beef. For the most flavorful sauce and tender meat, this original choice should not be underestimated. Bread dumplings are, of course, the right side dish. (See our recipe for them here).

We asked Naše Maso master butcher František Kšána to tell us what is the best meat to use in a classic Czech goulash; his chef Martin Zavoďan shared a recipe.

The best cuts for Czech goulash
Shank (kližky) –This sinewy cut dissolves in the sauce to give it a nice flavor. Use either the front or back shank.
Heel round (karabáček) – A less sinewy and meatier cut than shank.
Beef neck (hovězí krk) – Cut off the fattier parts if you prefer.

Naše Maso's Beef Goulash

  • 4 tbsp lard
  • 1 kg onion, finely chopped
  • 1 kg of beef
  • 1 l of beef broth
  • ½ slice of stale bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of ground caraway
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1.Heat half the lard in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry until golden brown. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. When the onion is finished cooking, add the meat.
  • 2.Saute the meat slowly and over medium heat. If your meat is overcooked, drizzle a little broth over it. While the meat is sautéing, heat the rest of the fat in a small pan and fry the bread cubes in it.
  • 3.Once the meat is browned on all sides, add the puree and cook briefly. Drizzle with a little broth. Sprinkle the mixture with paprika and cook again briefly. Then pour in the remaining broth so that the meat is submerged, but not floating.
  • 4.Add caraway, crushed garlic, and fried bread. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer slowly until the meat is tender. When the meat is ready, add the marjoram and cook a little longer.
  • 5.Serve with dumplings or fresh bread.

In the Czech Kitchen is a weekly column written in cooperation with the culinary experts from Ambiente. Established in 1995, the Prague-based collective of pubs, restaurants, and fine-dining outlets have transformed the Czech culinary landscape and lent to the widespread awareness of quality food service and production in Czechia. Follow their socials or book your table at 

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