You've likely heard of Goulash (Gulyás), the world-famous soup that is so filling it could easily be a meal on its own. Gulyás is a typical Hungarian food. It's a soup and not a stew (pörkölt), as it is sometimes mistakenly referred to.
2 pounds lean beef, cut into 2" pieces
5 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 fresh tomato, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 fresh, medium size green pepper, seeded and diced
2 pounds of potatoes
4 teaspoons of Hungarian paprika, salt, caraway seeds
plus: 3/4 cup flour, 1 egg and salt for the 'Csipetke' soup-pasta
Fry the chopped onion until it's golden yellow. Lower the heat, add the paprika and stir it rapidly (so the paprika doesn't burn). Add the meat and keep on stirring, add salt.
When the meat is browned and it let out its own juices add the caraway seeds, the finely chopped garlic and a small amount of cold water. Cover and braise the meat slowly. Stir it occasionally and add water if necessary. The meat should be braised and NOT boiled.
Just before the meat is completely tender (this can take about 1,5 hours, depending on the meat) cube and add the potatoes, green pepper and tomato. Add some more (2-3 cups) water.
Prepare the 'Csipetke' soup-pasta. Mix ¾ cup flour, 1 egg and a little salt and stir it into a stiff dough. Roll it out on a floured board and pinch small bean-size pieces out of it. When the potato is almost cooked add the pasta bits to the boiling soup and stir. Cook the soup for about 5 more minutes. The pasta is cooked when it rises to the surface. (If you don't feel like making 'Csipetke', you can add any kind of pasta, preferably small, used for soups.)
Goulash has many variations, even in Hungary. In some regions it is prepared with mixed vegetables (1-2 carrots, parsnips and celery) and the amount of potatoes is reduced to 1,5 pounds. Some people omit the pasta and eat the Goulash with bread. It's delicious any way you prepare it. If you want to reproduce the authentic flavor, use stock instead of water.
When in Budapest, you can take a cooking class and learn how to cook Goulash along with many other Hungarian dishes.
Bon appétit! (Jó étvágyat!)