Spicy, hearty, and full of robust flavors, goulash soup is a beloved dish that has warmed the hearts and bellies of many for centuries. Originating from Hungary, this flavorful soup has become a staple in Eastern European cuisines and a go-to for those looking for a comforting and substantial meal. Whether you're looking to expand your culinary horizons or to master a classic recipe, this guide will take you through the step-by-step process to create a delicious goulash soup in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Goulash Soup

Step 1: Gathering Your Ingredients

The foundation of a good goulash soup is its rich blend of spices and hearty ingredients. For a batch serving four to six, you'll need:

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) of beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups (1 liter) of beef broth
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of water
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Step 2: Preparing to Cook

Before you begin cooking, it's crucial to prepare all your ingredients. This process is known as mise en place, ensuring you can cook without interruptions. You'll start by seasoning the beef with salt and pepper, chopping your vegetables, and measuring the rest of your ingredients.

Step 3: Cooking Your Goulash Soup

Step 3.1: Browning the Beef

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Allow each batch to brown on all sides (about 3-4 minutes per batch) before transferring to a separate plate.

Step 3.2: Sautéing the Aromatics

  • In the same pot, add the onions and sauté until golden brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Step 3.3: Adding the Flavor

  • Return the browned beef to the pot. Stir in the Hungarian sweet paprika, caraway seeds, marjoram, thyme, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to bring out the flavors.

Step 3.4: Simmering

  • Pour in the beef broth and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Step 3.5: Adding the Vegetables

  • Add the sliced carrots and potatoes to the pot and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.

Step 3.6: Adjusting the Seasoning

  • Before serving, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

Step 4: Serving Your Goulash Soup

Goulash soup is traditionally served hot with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh parsley. For an authentic experience, consider serving with rye bread or egg noodles. The creamy and tangy complement of sour cream balances the bold flavors of the soup perfectly. Don’t forget to lay out some extra paprika for those who like an added kick!

Step 5: Storage and Reheating

If you find yourself with leftovers, fear not! Goulash soup reheats wonderfully. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for longer storage, but be sure to cool it completely first. To reheat, place the soup in a pot and heat over medium until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

Step 6: Conclusion

With its rich history and robust flavors, goulash soup is a dish worth mastering in the kitchen. It's a great way to explore traditional Hungarian cuisine and a warm welcome at any dinner table. Whether you're looking to impress your friends at a dinner party or just want a comforting meal for your family, this guide should equip you with all you need to create a delicious goulash soup. Enjoy your cooking adventure and savor every spoonful of this classic dish!

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