Veal Goulash with Sauerkraut

Veal cooked with onions, tomatoes, and served with a paprika sour cream sauce over sauerkraut. Also known as Szegedine Goulasch, an Austrian goulash.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Years ago in Manhattan, there was a rather famous German restaurant by the name of Luchow’s. It was established in 1882 and operated continuously for a hundred years, finally shutting down in 1984. In its heyday Luchow’s was well known as a hang out for musicians and entertainers such as Steinway, Dvorak, and later, Oscar Hammerstein. It even had a room named after Diamond Jim Brady, a regular.

I don’t recall how it happened, but my father came across a used copy of Luchow’s German Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from that now long gone restaurant. He quickly zeroed in on the recipe for an Austrian goulash with sauerkraut, also called Szegedine Goulasch in the book. I often accuse my dad of having sauerkraut in his veins, and not without reason. He just can’t pass up an interesting recipe that calls for that fermented cabbage. This “goulash” is chunks of veal, cooked with onions and tomatoes in a paprika sour cream sauce, served over sauerkraut. So so good.

We have since made the recipe six ways to Sunday—with pork instead of veal (not as good), with beef instead of veal (also not as good), shorter cooking time, longer cooking time, etc.—and have come to the conclusion that it is a fabulous recipe, it just needs more sauekraut (we doubled it for ours) and it really is best with veal. It’s also important to not get overzealous with the browning of the meat. It just needs the slightest hint of brown so that you know it’s done, not a sear which can toughen up the delicate veal meat.

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Veal Goulash with Sauerkraut Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter or rendered beef fat
  • 2 pounds of veal, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced onions, sliced root to tip, 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, or chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, chopped or crushed in a mortar with pestle
  • 2 28-30 ounce jars sauerkraut (we recommend Bubbies, in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method

1 Heat butter or beef fat in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Pat dry the cubed veal. Sprinkle with salt and add to pan. Working in batches, sauté the meat until the meat is just beginning to brown.

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2 Add the onions to the pan with the veal, cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

3 Add a teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of black pepper, and the tomatoes. Add enough water to just barely cover the meat, about 2 cups or so, depending on the size and shape of your pan.

4 Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, uncovered. Cook until the meat is almost cooked through, about 30 minutes.

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5 Use a slotted spoon to remove the veal from the pan to a bowl to temporarily set aside. Increase the heat to high and let the liquid boil until it is reduced by half. Lower the heat to medium. Add the meat back to the pan.

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6 Add the sour cream, paprika, and crushed caraway seeds, and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes.

7 Heat the sauerkraut in a medium pot on medium heat until hot.

To serve, strain the sauerkraut. Place the sauerkraut in a serving dish and top with the goulash.

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Adapted from a recipe in Luchow's German Cookbook by Jan Mitchell, 1952

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Showing 4 of 22 Comments

  • phzs

    More paprika, please! It has to be bright red.
    I also make a fat-sautéed onion-paprika base for the sauerkraut, and mix it with the ragout, made with pork. In the end I add a handful of rice to the combined dish, which makes the sauce thicker.
    It is very important to keep the meat and sauerkraut ratio at 1:1. :)

  • Karell

    This looks excellent and really original! I’m excited for a new recipe yet familiar ingredients. Two questions, though:
    -Any particular cut of veal (or beef, or pork)?
    -If it meets your qualifications for the category could you please tag this as Low Carb? It meets mine and your LC section is an awesome and inspiring resource.
    Thank you!

    Hi Karell, no particular cut was specified in the original recipe and we just used veal stew meat. As for the low carb classification, great idea, thanks! I’ll add it. ~Elise

  • Christina

    Looks good! But I wanted to comment on something rather unrelated to the recipe…

    Your dad looks amazing. I seriously paused at that picture and thought “wow… he’s ripped!”. And I’m easily young enough to be his grand-daughter. Good for him!

    He is, isn’t he? The guy is crazy strong. Lifts twice a week. :-) ~Elise

  • Richard Boggs

    I have the same exact cookbook you describe. Great recipes throughout. There is a comment about venison…the key to tender venison to treat it the same as veal…quick browning and low heat plus you need to use the backstrap (tenderloin).

  • Christine

    Seriously, I’m with Christina.

    The food looks delicious, but hello Elise’s dad. (Also that sounds super creepy, but I’m leaving it.) ;)

    Zokay, my dad is rather amused by these comments. :-) ~Elise

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Veal Goulash with Sauerkraut