Goulash is a staple in the Hungarian diet, and our family was no exception. Oma (my grandmother) always had a piping hot bowl of goulash ready for us, served with a heap of nokedli (like spaetzle noodles). She always knew to make extra nokedli when I was coming over, since I tended to have a bowl of nokedli with a dash of goulash on top. I've gotten a little better about that now, but still, goulash without nokedli is like summer without sand, or Ben without Jerry.
This soup is easy to make and has few ingredients, but packs a lot of flavor. Note that Hungarians eat their goulash as a soup, while Czech's tend to have it as a stew. We do it the Magyar way. This is the second recipe from Oma that I've posted. They are all near and dear to my heart!
Oma's Gulyasleves (Goulash Soup)
3 yellow onions, chopped
4 tbsp canola oil
2 lbs lean, boneless beef chuck, cubed
1 T Hungarian paprika (sweet, not smoked)
1 1/2 quarts water
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium tomato, peeled* and diced (try to keep juices)
1-2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp caraway seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle if possible (omit if you don't like 'em)
red pepper flakes, to taste (Opa said these "put hair on your chest")
In a soup pot or large Dutch oven, sauté the onions in the oil over medium heat until golden brown. Add the meat and paprika; stir to coat the meat, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a bit of water if necessary.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the water and the rest of the ingredients except the green bell pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 2 hours, until the meat is super tender.
15 minutes before the end, add the rest of the water and the green bell pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve with as much nokedli (scroll down for recipe) as your heart desires.
*The easiest way to peel a tomato is to blanch it in boiling water for a couple minutes. Let cool, then the waxy outer layer should come off relatively easily.