Several years ago, A.J. and I were in Salzburg, Austria, exploring the fabulous old town and the imposing castle overlooking the city. We both love the food there, and so when we found a tiny little cookbook (perfect for slipping into a suitcase pocket) in the castle gift shop, we bought it. Austrian Specialties features just that: recipes for delicious Austrian food, plus beautiful photos (although the ones here are mine) and a few tidbits of information about Austria and its history.

a portion of the Salzburg skyline, from the mountain across the river; you can see the castle in the upper left corner


looking up at the castle from the base of the mountain


Just this past weekend, A.J. was looking through the little cookbook and found a recipe for “Fiaker Goulash,” which is a dish named after the country’s carriage-for-hire drivers. I’m not exactly clear on why this type of goulash would have been named after carriage drivers, but no matter.

The cookbook tells us that the country’s “first official Hackney driver (Fiaker) was licensed in Vienna in 1653.”

traditional carriages lined up in a public square, awaiting fares


Without further ado: the recipe for Fiaker Goulash (from Austrian Specialties):

2 lbs. beef (stew meat)

1 & 1/2 lbs. onions, finely chopped

2 TB oil

2 TB sweet paprika

1 TB vinegar

3 cups beef stock

1 garlic clove, crushed

pinch of marjoram

1/2 tsp ground caraway

1 TB tomato paste

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute onions until golden brown. Sprinkle the onions with the paprika; add the vinegar and several tablespoons of the beef stock.

Add the stew meat and the marjoram and carraway. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about one and a half hours, stirring frequently and adding stock as needed.

When the meat is tender, add the remaining stock, the tomato paste, and the garlic. Simmer for 10 more minutes, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

The traditional garnish for each bowl of goulash is a fried egg and a gherkin pickle.