Someone asked me to do up a recipe for goulash soup. I promptly called my dad and asked him about how to make it. It had been a while since I’ve made it and couldn’t remember how, and needless to say one of the reasons for my writing this blog is to document my recipes. His answer was simple, “Make it just like tripe soup”. Aaah… that’s easy… what followed was a list of ingredients that he added to a couple of times… alas he has the same memory issues I’m experiencing!
This is how I’ve always received instructions in cooking, “You can use beef, and really any smoked meat. This was the kind of soup that was made from scraps of meat that one got from the butcher. A chunk of good salami is always a nice addition. Onions of course, potatoes chopped really small but careful not to overcook them! Caraway seeds, add garlic early on if you don’t want it too strong and marjoram… don’t forget the marjoram… and yes of course, paprika, a good one… use the good German kind.”
And those were my instructions…. Alas, I made the soup…. put most of it into a large container on the top rack of the fridge and a little in a small container to take to work the next day for lunch…. Then… you’re not even going to believe this… my daughter opened the fridge the next day and BAM! Down came the large container of soup and instantly there was soup all over the floor… the dog had a nice breakfast that morning as he ran around trying to lap up the goodies off the floor before I cleaned it up.
So I had a BOWL of soup…. and it was yummy… so I share the recipe with you here … of my one lonely bowl of soup.
Pan fry a diced onion in a soup pot with a little oil. Once it starts to brown then add the beef. Make sure the beef is chopped into small bit sized pieces. Add some garlic, enough… which for me means several minced cloves and a tablespoon or so of the caraway seeds. Then take the pot off the element, and this is important because if the paprika gets too hot it will burn and become very bitter. So take the pot off the element and give it a minute or two and then very liberally sprinkle with some good paprika. Mix together and then add either water or some beef broth if you have it handy.
Dice some other smoked meat if you have, like a good piece of salami and dump it into the pot. Cook until the beef is just about soft. Then add a couple of diced potatoes and let it cook. It’s better to wait until you have the rest of the ingredients almost cooked before adding the potatoes, you don’t want to overcook them and have them turn into mush… this has always been one of my beefs…. get it… lol… with store bought or canned soups, so many of the ingredients are overcooked and mushy. I get that they need to bring everything to a high heat to seal the container but still, I don’t think there’s anything worse than mushy vegetables or pasta.
Lastly, add in the marjoram, you can’t substitute here, this herb has the most unique flavour, at least in my mind, and often paired with garlic and caraway seeds it is probably one of my most favourite combinations.
There you have it, goulash soup. I have to admit that when I make something and the recipe calls for salami or some kind of smoked meat I resort to using spicy chorizo, I know it is clearly not a Czech ingredient, I love the taste and the spiciness of it, and I have found a variety that is not fatty at all and packs a nice punch plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s also seasoned with paprika so it seems to be a foreign ingredient that goes really well!
I don’t measure to make this, just generally eyeball it, but if you would like amounts my best guesstimates are thus:
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 tablespoons of oil
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic (or more)
- 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 or 2 packages of stewing beef (equal to about 2 large steaks chopped up)
- 1 Tablespoon of paprika
- 1 litre of beef broth (I use the salt free)
- 2 – 1 inch chunks of salami or other smoked meat
- 1/2 Tablespoon Marjoram
- 2 medium sized potatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
Serve hot with a nice piece of crusty bread and enjoy!