I was going to put to good use my beautiful new bag of fresh Viennese (read: Hungarian-style) paprika from our trip. We were both very taken with the delicious gulasch we had tasted in Vienna and I knew from that first taste that this was something I wanted to recreate at home. I didn’t have to wait long – this miserable summer and its chilly nights was encouragement rather than a barrier to the making of a warm stew. Specifically, what I wanted was fiakergulasch, a specialty of Vienna where their beef gulasch (rindsgulasch) is topped with a frankfurter, a fried egg and sliced gherkins. I have no idea why it’s named for the horse carriages.

Fiakergulasch

But to make fiakergulasch, one must first start with rindsgulasch (beef gulasch). Rich, flavourful and just a little bit spicy, this stew is extremely comforting and strangely familiar. There’s an awe inspiring amount of chopped onions that naturally thicken the stew as well as an unfamiliar herb and spice – marjoram and caraway seeds – used; all combined to make something that I’ll definitely cook again. We ate the gulasch with its fork tender beef as it was the first day and used the leftovers on the second day to have fiakergulasch.

Wiener Rindsgulasch

In Vienna, a massive bread dumpling was served on the side; we chose to have our gulasch with boiled potatoes (tossed with butter and chives) one day and bread the next. As with the paprikash, try to use a Hungarian style paprika here; a Spanish pimenton would be all wrong.

Wiener Rindsgulasch
adapted from thepassionatecook.
serves 4.

1 kg stewing beef, cut into large chunks
1 kg onions, finely chopped
5-6 tbsp oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp Hungarian-style sweet paprika
1 tsp Hungarian-style hot or hot/sweet paprika
1.5 tsp dried marjoram
1.5 tsp caraway seeds
2 bay leaves
1 strip of lemon peel
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large pot/saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and all the onions and fry until golden (it’s a large quantity of onion and this takes quite a while).

Add the garlic and tomato paste and fry for a few minutes. Throw in the paprika, stir well to combine (make sure it doesn’t burn) and then add in the white wine vinegar and stir up anything that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the meat and stir to combine and add the marjoram, caraway seeds, bay leaves and lemon peel and a little salt. Pour in 500ml of water.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the temperature until the mixture is at a simmer and let simmer, half covered, for 2 hours (stir occasionally). At the end of the 2 hours, the gulasch should be thick and much darker than it was at the beginning. Season to taste. Serve or to make fiakergulasch, follow the instructions below.

Like all stews, this gulasch keeps very well. There were only two of us and we saved half for the next day.

Fiakergulasch

Fiakergulasch

For each portion of rindsgulasch above:
1 egg
1 frankfurter
1 gherkin

Cut the gherkin in half lengthwise and then cut each half into a fan (slice lengthwise, keeping one end unsliced to hold the fan together). Keeping the middle part of the sausage intact, slice it into quarters lengthwise (see the photo). Throw it into boiling water for a few minutes, until it’s fully cooked and the sliced parts have curled up. (Optional: you could fry your sausage instead.) Fry the egg to your liking.

Plate your gulasch and top with the frankfurter, fried egg and fanned gherkin. Serve.