Potato Goulash is a dish we all grew up with in Austria, or at least in the mountains. Yet the Gulasch or Gulyás of our childhood was rarely prepared completely Vegetarian. The authentic Potato Gulasch, better known as Erdäpfelgulasch (Erdäpfel is the Austrian word for Potato), would always contain some Vienna Sausages or Frankfurters or even the locally available St.Johanner Sausages. However my mum came up with a purely Veg version, just because of my fussy eating choices in my youth. Soon I returned to my omnivore being, but the Vegetarian Potato Goulash remained to be one of my favorite quick and easy night suppers.
You might recall that I had posted my Beef Goulash recipe a couple of weeks ago and back then I had promised you a Vegetarian Goulash version and later on a couple more typical Austrian Goulash types. There are a lot of different Austrian goulash versions, as for example Esterházy goulash, Beans goulash, Pörkölt, Farmers goulash, Emperors goulash and Szegediner goulash. Certainly there should be more types and many of those have never crossed my way. Of course I shouldn’t forget the original Hungarian Goulash types and others such as the Balkan, German and Italian Goulashes. There are just so many and all have their own characteristics! Some are darker in color, some spicier, some have a thicker texture and some goulash could be considered as stews or even a soups.
With time, the goulash traveled all over central Europe and each region has a favorite of their own. That means too that each “mutated” in their own way. The reason for that is, that cooks would always use locally available ingredients and locally famous side dishes. For example, we in Tyrol prepare ours to a lighter brown & red shade and we would always serve goulash with dark Black bread (It’s a bread type and its not burned!) or with small Semmelknödel (round bread dumplings). On the other hand the Vienna goulash style doesn’t necessarily include Tomatoes and theirs has a darker brown shade. So, you understand, at that time it was all about changing the new and hip goulash from Hungary, into a locally appraised version, which, in my regions case, would please the farmers.
I didn’t find a Historical background for the Potato Goulash but you can check the general historical Goulash facts here or even on Wikipedia. The potato arrived during the Renaissance in Europe, so I bet that’s when the Potato Goulash was created. Until now the potato is one of the most inexpensive ingredients and the root is obviously still much loved across the world! One could call it “the poor mans” goulash, I d rather call it the “last minute, awesome, warming, super easy dinner idea”! 30 minutes and you are done, plus everybody loves it. Try to serve the Potato goulash with a green lettuce salad topped with Vinaigrette and some brown bread at the side. In my opinion that’s the best way to enjoy all the flavors! I guarantee you will enjoy the smoky paprika and cumin infused Veg Potato Goulash and I believe children enjoy it much as well. Always remember, I was a very very fussy kid and this was a meal I would ask my mother to make again and again!