My first real experience with goulash was at Max and Moritz in Berlin. I’m sure I had some form of it at some point during my childhood, but not any time that I have a particular memory of. Goulash can be made in either soup or stew form – I had it in soup form, and that’s the way I made it this time. In fact, I did everything I can, without having any idea of the ingredients, to imitate the soup that I had in Berlin as much as possible.
Goulash is savory and thick and the perfect Sunday night dish (with plenty of leftovers for weekday lunches) for the colder months. And it seems like those came all of a sudden this year in New York. Right around mid October – it was sunny, in the 70’s and BAM – suddenly it’s in the 40’s and low 50’s and brisk and windy.
What’s amazing about this dish is that it will fill you up, and it feels hearty but still is not heavy. I actually eliminated the 4 large baking potatoes from the recipe because I just didn’t think the soup needed it. Its really a comfort food but its all vegetables and meat! No cheeses or pastas or anything that will make you go into a major food coma afterwards. Our leftovers were just finished off and I’m already ready to make another batch.
Adapted from Gourmet
5 slices bacon, chopped
3 pounds boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet)
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
5 cups beef broth
3 cups beer
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 red bell peppers, chopped fine
In an 8-quart heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In fat remaining in kettle brown chuck in small batches over high heat, then transfer with slotted spoon to same bowl.
Reduce heat to moderate and add oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, and flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and tomato paste and cook, whisking, 1 minute. (Mixture will be very thick.) Stir in broth, water, beer, salt, bell peppers, bacon, and chuck and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.
Season soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper.