Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions

Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions

Hungarian Goulash sounds so fancy, right?  Yeah, not so much; it’s really just another way of saying casserole.  This “goulash” is very American, meaning that the only ingredient it has in common with a traditional Hungarian Goulash is paprika.  It is however an easy recipe to make, and will feed a small army; once again B.O.B. Bob and I will be eating the same thing for at least three days.  This is one of those recipes that you can easily make your own; try adding in different varieties of meat, potatoes, onions, and herbs.  You can even top the finished casserole with cheese and place it in a 350 degree oven, just until the top gets nice and bubbly with a golden brown color.  Prep work for this meal can also be made even easier by using a mandolin to slice the onions and potatoes.  This Mandolin Slicer is similar to the one I use.  It’s certainly not fancy, but it works nicely, is dishwasher safe, came with a storage box, and has not cut off any of my fingers as of yet.  Knock on wood!


  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 (12-oz.) Package Smoked Kielbasa, Sliced Thinly
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Large or 2 Small Sweet Yellow Onions, Roughly Chopped
  • 2 to 4 Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
  • 1 (5-lb.) Bag of Red Potatoes, Peeled and Thinly Sliced
  • 1 3/4 Cup Unsalted Chicken Stock
  • A Handful of Flat-Leaf Parsley, Finely Chopped (4 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Bunch of Scallions, Thinly Sliced (Green Parts Only)
  • Sour Cream for Serving (Optional)
  • Additional Salt & Pepper (Optional)


  1. Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add olive oil.
  3. When the oil is hot, add in the kielbasa, cooking until well caramelized.
  4. Remove the kielbasa with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
  5. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to the Dutch oven, depending on how much oil is leftover in your pan from the kielbasa.
  6. When the butter has melted, add the onions; allow the onions to caramelize for 7 minutes.
  7. Stir the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and sugar into the onions; sauté for 1 minute.
  8. Fold in the sliced potatoes, coating them well with the onion and spice mixture.
  9. Add in the chicken stock, stirring to combine.
  10. Push the potatoes down into the stock as much as possible, before placing a lid askew on the Dutch oven, allowing some of the steam to escape.
  11. Decrease temperature to medium, and cook for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove lid, stir the mixture, and then cook for another 15 minutes with the lid removed; stir the mixture gently every couple of minutes.
  13. Add the kielbasa, parsley, and scallions to the pan; mix well.
  14. Taste, add salt or pepper if necessary.
  15. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions


  • You can use any brand or variety of kielbasa you choose, but I prefer Wellshire Farms All Natural Smoked Polska Kielbasa, which can be found at Whole Foods Market.
  • The amount of butter you use to caramelize the onions depends on how much oil is left in your pan after caramelizing the kielbasa.  If you have a lot of oil leftover, only add 1 tablespoon.  If there is only a little bit of oil still left in the pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter.  You can use salted butter, but you may want to cut down the amount of salt you use later on in the recipe.
  • You can use either stock or broth in this recipe.  I used Swanson Chicken Unsalted Cooking Stock in this recipe.  If you don’t use a low-sodium or no-sodium chicken stock or broth, you will want to adjust the amount of salt added to this recipe.
  • The number of garlic cloves used in this recipe should be determined by how much you like garlic.
  • If the potatoes are not done enough for your liking, cover the Dutch oven with a lid, over low heat; check every 5 minutes until desired doneness is achieved.
  • Be gentle when stirring the potatoes, you want some of them to stay in whole slices, and a few to break down and thicken the sauce.


  • Sprinkle a bit of grated cheddar cheese over the goulash before serving.
  • Meat lovers should use 2 packages of kielbasa in this recipe.  Remove 1/2 of the oil in the pan after removing the caramelized kielbasa.
  • Play around with different types of kielbasa or sausage in this recipe; chorizo would give this dish a true Spanish flair.
  • Try using different varieties of paprika.  I used Spice Islands Paprika.


Paprika is produced in a number of places including Hungary, Serbia, Spain and some regions of the United States.  It is used as an ingredient in a broad variety of dishes throughout the world. Paprika is principally used to season and color rices, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices. In the United States, paprika is frequently sprinkled on foods as a garnish, but the flavor is more effectively produced by heating it gently in oil.

Spanish Paprika (pimentón) is available in three versions, mild (pimentón dulce), moderately spicy (pimentón agridulce), and very spicy (pimentón picante.) Some Spanish paprika, including pimentón de la Vera has a distinct smoky flavor and aroma as it is dried by smoking, typically using oak wood.

Hungary is a major source of paprika and is thus more commonly used. It is available in grades ranging as follows:

  • Special quality (Különleges) the mildest, very sweet with a deep bright red color.
  • Delicate (csípősmentes csemege) – color from light to dark red, a mild paprika with a rich flavor.
  • Exquisite Delicate (Csemegepaprika) – similar to Delicate, but more pungent.
  • Pungent Exquisite Delicate (Csípős Csemege, Pikáns) – an even more pungent version of Delicate.
  • Rose (Rózsa) – pale red in color with strong aroma and mild pungency.
  • Noble Sweet (Édesnemes) – the most commonly exported paprika; bright red and slightly pungent.
  • Half-Sweet (Félédes) – A blend of mild and pungent paprikas; medium pungency.
  • Strong (Erős) – light brown in color, the spiciest paprika.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash with Smoked Sausage and Savory Caramelized Onions by The Cozy Apron

DEFINITION FROM: Paprika by Wikipedia

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  • A great recipe I can’t wait to try out. I love Goulash and those adventurous enough to try it! I wish more would.

    I came up with my own version of a Hungarian Goulash. While different from your own, I think mine is a unique take on the dish. I’m new to the Food Blog scene and would love some feedback from a pro like you. Check out my recipe if have time.

    • Sounds like a great version of Goulash, that anyone can easily make. I’m sure the meat is extremely tender after a couple of hours slowly baking in the oven as well. The only thing that I would change would be the peppers, but that’s only because I can’t eat them. They just don’t like me! However, most people would love the taste of them in this dish. Have you ever tried using different types of paprika? I’ve been wanting to experiment.

  • Ben Ringle

    As a 60yr old Hungarian I can say without a doubt you are Incorrect.. Gulyás is NOT a casserole in any way shape or form it’s a Hearty soup or stew.

    • Agreed! I admit in the first paragraph that this is an untraditional recipe and very “American!” Here, goulash pretty much refers to anything thrown together. I do, however, hope to make a traditional version soon! I’m sure it will taste amazing!