As leading Johannesburg and Cape Town meat wholesalers, N1 pride themselves on offering a wide variety of high-quality Halaal and non-Halaal meat products; and during the last of these icy winter months, very little beats a heart-warming dish of beef goulash or beef stroganoff – both of which are not only rich in taste, but rich in history too.
Beef goulash originated in medieval Hungary and while many variants abound, it is typically a beef dish seasoned with paprika and other spices. Its origins can be traced back to the early 9th century as a stew eaten by Hungarian shepherds – groups of five or six men who would spend long stretches of time away from home on the vast Hungarian plains tending cattle. The word ‘goulash’ actually comes from the Hungarian gulyas which means ‘herdsman’ or ‘cowboy’. Although today it is known for the addition of paprika, it wasn’t actually until the 16th century that this bright, fragrant spice was added. It remained a peasant food until the early 1800s at which point it starting creeping into the kitchens and dining rooms of the aristocracy. This came about more as a form of rebellion than anything else – Hungarians, resentful that they were now ruled by the German Habsburg Empire, began emphasising their own heritage in the form of folk tales, peasant dances and cuisine, including the likes of goulash. Today one of Hungary’s national dishes, goulash also cracked America’s Top 5 favourite meat dishes in the 1960s.
Beef stroganoff on the other hand originated a few borders away from Hungary, in Russia. The dish is purported to be named after the Stroganoffs, a wealthy St. Petersburg family whose French chef created the dish for a cooking contest in 1891. Under the then Tsar rule, the Russian aristocracy enjoyed incredible wealth and they had a great love for all things French – they kept apartments in Paris, sent their offspring to French schools and made sure they had French maids, governesses and chefs taking care of all their needs back home in Russia. It wasn’t unusual therefore to find a French chef in a Russian kitchen, and the dish was a perfect combination of French-Russian culture. From there, the popular dish found its way to China and then somewhere in the 1920s to the United States as a wave of Russian immigrants escaping the tyranny of the Tsar landed on American soil.
As we bridge the chilly gap between winter and spring, if you’re considering adding these delicious and hearty dishes to your menu, call your favourite Johannesburg and Cape Town meat wholesalers N1 for all your goulash and stroganoff needs – bon appétit or rather, that should be jó étvágyat and хороший аппетит.