The word “Gulyas” (Goulash) is of Hungarian origin and refers to a Hungarian herdsman. In the initial use the word gulyas only referred to the herdsmen, but as time went on, the meat that the herdsmen prepared became known as gulyáshús (goulash meat) and became a new term used by the entire Hungarian population. Today gulyas still refers to the herdsmen but it is mostly associated with Goulash Soup, one of the most famous Hungarian staples.
Up until the 19th century, the Hungarian Puszta (Great Plains) was the thoroughfare for large herds of cattle that ended up in Europe’s large cattle markets. When the cattle were herded on the Puszta often the weakest of the animals was slaughtered and became gulyáshús for the herdsmen. This became a tradition and Gulyas (Goulash) was born.
In traditional Hungarian cuisine, gulyasleves (goulash soup), porkolt, paprikas are semi thick stews that the herdsmen prepared and have become traditional specialties of Hungarian cuisine. These stews can also be prepared as soups if preferred and different parts of the country have different ways of cooking and preparing these specialties.