Warming, hearty, deeply flavoured beef stew with potatoes, paprika, caraway seeds and tomatoes. A delicious and satisfying meal for any time of the day. A staple mid-winter lunch on the slopes across Europe and an international favourite in pubs and restaurants around the world.
Like many classics however, there are many versions and variations. Although I think my version is fairly classic, I have made a few minor changes to suit the quirks of my family’s diet. My husband is a cheese phobic carnivore with limited appetite for vegetables and salads, Charlotte focusses on healthy eating and fitness but has a huge weakness for chocolate chip cookies and Emma is a vegetarian, sometimes pescatarian, a lover of cakes and indeed is a talented cake decorator. Trying to cook a meal everyone will eat is a challenge and I often cook 2 or 3 slightly different versions per meal.
Obviously Emma would not eat this at all, but omit the meat and add lots of vegetables such as peppers, carrots and celery and you will have a wonderful vegetarian soup. Charlotte would love it but would prefer it if it included a good helping of chopped carrots, as is classically served on the pistes here in Switzerland. Andrew likes it as it is! Potato, beef, onion, limited carrot (finely chopped), garlic, stock and flavourings. I’m with Charlotte on this one, so to keep everyone happy I will cook up some carrot which we can then add to the soup ourselves – it’s a lot easier to add it in than pick it out! If you are happy with carrots (which I imagine 99% of you would be) then please add 6 – 8 peeled and chopped carrots at the same time as the potatoes.
How to make Goulash Soup
Gulaschsuppe is not difficult to make but it does benefit from taking the time to brown the beef, slowly cook the onion, carrot and garlic until lightly caramelised and then cooking the whole soup slowly in the oven for up to 3 hours. Make it the day before you eat it and the flavours will further develop, deepen and improve. It freezes well, in a sealed container for up to 3 months – simply defrost in the fridge overnight and warm up thoroughly.
To make the soup, simply collect all your ingredients together although you will not need the potatoes and tomato paste until later.
Cut the meat into small cubes.
Peel and roughly chop the onion, carrot and garlic and then chop them finely in a food processor. This can also be done by hand if you do not have a processor or prefer larger chunks in your soup.
Heat half the butter and oil in your casserole dish and brown the beef, in two batches, then remove from the pan. This should leave a gorgeous sticky residue on the base of the pan.
Add the remaining butter, oil and the onion and carrot mixture and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until lightly caramelised. Remember to scrape up all the gorgeous sticky bits in the pan – these bits are full of flavour.
Add the meat back to the pan, along with the goulash spice, salt pepper and sugar. Stir thoroughly.
Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook in the oven for 90 minutes.
When the soup has been in the oven for around 80 – 85 minutes, peel and chop your potatoes.
After 90 minutes add the potatoes and tomato puree to the soup and put back in the oven for a further 60 – 90 minutes. The length of time it takes will depend on the type of potato you use and how soft you like it.
I serve the soup with warmed fresh crusty bread, a good grinding of black pepper, a drizzle of sour cream, a sprinkling of sweet paprika and some finely chopped chives or parsley.
Cooking on the Hob
You could continue to cook the Goulash Soup on the hob. Simply cover, turn the heat to very low and gently simmer. Cook for 90 minutes stirring from time to time. After 90 minutes add the potatoes and tomato puree, stir well and cook for a further 60 – 90 minutes. I personally prefer the oven as I can forget about it and not worry about it catching on the base of the pan or remembering to stir it. Your choice – both ways work well!
Cooking in a Slow Cooker
Alternatively cook your Goulash Soup in the Slow Cooker. Simply make as described in the recipe to the end of point 7. Transfer your mixture so far to a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 hours, add the potatoes and puree and cook for a further 2.5 hours. Alternatively if cooking on low, cook on for 4 hours, add the potatoes and puree and cook for a further 3 – 4 hours.
Made this recipe?
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Warming, hearty, deeply flavoured beef stew with potatoes, paprika, caraway seeds and tomatoes.
Light meal, Lunch, Soup
beef, paprika, soup
50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
400g braising steak, cut into 1cm cubes
2 large onions, 250g peeled weight, roughly chopped
1 carrot, 100g prepared weight, roughly chopped
4 cloves/16g of peeled garlic
snoop3 tablespoons Hungarian goulash spice mix (See Recipe Notes for alternative.)
1 tablespoon plain/all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1500ml/6 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
800g potatoes, peeled weight, cut into 1cm cubes
warm, fresh crusty bread
sprinkle of sweet paprika
chopped chives or parsley
chopping board and knife
large cast iron casserole dish/Dutch oven
Preheat oven to Fan Oven 130°C/150°C/300°F/Gas 2
Prepare and cook the beef: prepare the beef. Cut the meat into small cubes, roughly 1cm square. Heat the half the butter and oil in your cast iron casserole over a medium high heat. Add half the beef and cook until browned on all side. Remove from the pan, set aside and add the remaining beef to the pan and brown on all sides. Take out and add to the other cooked beef.
Prepare and cook the vegetables: meanwhile peel and roughly chop the onions, wash, trim and roughly chop the carrot, peel the garlic. Put all the vegetables in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. If you do not have a food processor, simply chop everything finely.
Add the remaining butter and oil to your cast iron casserole and lower the heat to medium. Add the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until softened and slightly caramelised. Be sure to scrape up any delicious sticky residue left by cooking the beef in the pan beforehand.
Return the beef to the pan. Stir to mix.
Add the Hungarian Goulash spice mix, flour, salt and sugar. Mix well and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute.
Add the stock: stir well, and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring from time to time. As soon as it is simmering, put on lid and put in the oven for 90 minutes.
Prepare and add the potatoes: towards the end of the 90 minutes cooking time, prepare your potatoes. Simply peel and chop into small cubes, roughly 1cm square.
After 90 minutes, take the soup out of the oven and add the tomato puree, mix well and add the potatoes. Stir and return to the oven for a further 60 – 90 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft and the soup broth has thickened.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
I serve it with warmed fresh crusty bread, a good grinding of black pepper, a drizzle of sour cream, a sprinkling of sweet paprika and some finely chopped chives or parsley.
Goulash Spice Mix:
If you do not have any spice mix made up, you can use the following which will give you 3 tablespoons: