Wild Mushroom Goulash

Walter Plendner

Marriott Hotels

Although Walter Plendner served this incredibly rich goulash as a first course during his Viennese Christmas dinner at the Beard House, a number of guests liked it so much that they considered skipping a few other courses in exchange for a second portion. Plendner served the goulash over a fluffy mound of polenta. For best results, splurge on the mushrooms.


  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms (chanterelles, cèpes, or black trumpets, depending on what is in season)
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 24 chive “sticks,” for garnish


Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the shallots and sauté until they soften, being careful not to let them brown. Add the mushrooms and, a minute later, the paprika. Continue sautéing until the mushrooms are fully cooked, about eight minutes. Add the crème fraîche and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Bring to a light boil, letting the sauce reduce slightly. Add the parsley and chopped chives. Serve the goulash over soft polenta and garnish with chive “sticks.”


4 servings as a main course, 6 as an appetizer