Smokey Chilli Ostrich Goulash

Serves 4

After pan-frying a small portion of the ostrich fillet I used for the crackers in the last post, I decided that a slow-cooked tomato based stew was just the thing for the rest. The fillet being quite tender, would also mean a much shorter cooking time. So in fact, slow cooked- but on my terms!
If you live in South Africa, it’s not uncommon to find good quality ostrich meat at most stores and chain supermarkets, and being very low in fat and cholesterol, it is an excellent source of protein.

Ostrich meat is red, which I suppose is a little bit of a surprise, since these large lovelies are birds and one is accustomed to poultry being white meat.
And bite size morsels of said bird were destined for my delightful Le Crueset casserole pot for two (though it yielded 4 servings), in the form of a smokey, chilli goulash with peppers.

South Africa meets Hungary in a bowl on basmati.

(A local supplier sets out the merits of the bird, which you can read here.)

Jamie Oliver does a version with pork, which is also spicy, but is cooked for a much longer time. I was positively startled at how similar our food pics looked, as I had only seen a colour photo of Jamie’s dish when I did the write up.
Of course, using the ostrich makes my version the superior! (Most glad that he will never read this)

Why a goulash?

I have a particularly soft spot for Hungary and Budapest, in particular. The art, architecture, incredible (affordable) opera, varierty of restaurants and bars (both traditional and fusion) give it a New World Eastern European charm. The paprika of all kinds – in tubes like tomato paste, in tins and little cotton sacks- sweet, mild, bitter, hot.
In addition, imagine that you, along with your fellow Budapestis purchased your weekly fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and spices from a local market (the Nagyvasarcsarnok) that looked as grand as this:

Granted my pic doesn’t do it justice- but all the housewives will tell you- this is the place to go!
The variety of produce as well as freshly prepared food and snacks is of such good quality and value, you almost can’t blame the hordes of tourists that have caught on.

Sadly, its been over a year and I have long run out of paprika from Budapest, but used a smoked powdered version, purchased locally. Once I prepped the ingredients, and discussed the method with my husband (roughly four times), I assisted him from a distance and went off to enjoy a long bubble bath while he tended the goulash and transferred it to the oven for it’s 1 hour and 15 minute stint in there.

It isn’t necessary to have a longer cooking time, but if you wish to substitute the ostrich with stewing beef, you may need to increase the cooking time. I did not aim for a shredded meat goulash, because the ostrich was tender enough and melted in the mouth.

That’s all you want, really.


400 g ostrich fillet, cut into small cubes (1 or 2 bite size morsels, add 1 tsp ground ginger and garlic, few grinds of smoked salt and 1/2 tsp smoked sweet/mild (or hot) paprika, mix and set aside)
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
1/2 green, red and yellow medium sized peppers, chopped into 1cm cubes (you know I mean small)
1 medium red chilli, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
small handful fresh oregano, chopped roughly
2 tsp smoked sweet/mild paprika (1 tsp if you’re using the hot variety)
1 x can plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup warm water with 1 tbsp vegetable or beef liquid stock, mixed
small handful sundried tomatoes, chopped roughly
2 tbsp Marsala wine (optional)
zest 1 lemon (optional)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil
smoked salt, to taste
sour cream and chopped parsley to serve


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a small pot (preferably a casserole that can be used in oven as well), add the oil and fry onions on medium heat for 4 minutes or until softened.
Add chopped chilli and garlic and stir for a few seconds. Add ostrich. Now, you could if you wish add it in two batches to brown, but I don’t think this is necessary. It’s all going to tenderize together nicely in the oven. Turn up the heat to brown slightly.
Add tinned tomato, tomato paste, marsala, water and smoked paprika (if you add the paprika earlier with the onions, it may burn and become slightly bitter). Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring gently to mix.
Add oregano, lemon zest and sugar. Test seasoning and add more smoked salt, according to taste.
Add peppers and sundried tomatoes and mix well. Remove from heat.

Cover the vessel tightly with heavy duty foil, make a little gash in the centre with a sharp knife and transfer to oven. Don’t cover with the lid.
Allow to cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Serve on a bed of rice, with a dollop of sour cream and snipped parsley and freshly ground black pepper.


The smokey paprika permeates the tomato and pepper gravy, and compliments the ostrich (an otherwise strong gamey meat) perfectly.
This is South Africa meets Hungary at its best- hearty, nutritious comfort food that is lean and suitable for Spring time too.

pic property of


Print Friendly, PDF & Email