Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goulash Soup

On my first visit to Budapest I ignored the Goulash and Goulashsoup on the menus at first. I in ignorance thought the hamburger meat sour cream mixture my mother had served over noodles was Goulash, and I did not much care for it.

One night in a small bar I saw most of the patrons seriously working on these steaming bowls that smelled divine. I told the waiter I would have what they were having and when he presented it at the table…goulashsoup. It was served with a really hearty Rye bread and a chunk of excellent butter.

After that it became a staple of mine and I found that it was like Gumbo in the south. Every chef made it slightly differently. I could not taste them all, but I did my best.

You need about 4 hours to make this but once started it requires little attention.

3 large onions finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely diced
3 tablespoons bacon fat or oil
3 pounds of cubed beef (chuck or another fatty collegin rich cut)
3 veal shank bones (oven browned)
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
6 carrots peeled can cut into thin rounds
3 parsnips peeled and cut into thin rounds
3 medium potatoes finely diced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 Hungarian wax or banana peppers diced
3 tablespoons Hungarian hot paprika (use less if you are not into spicy food)
Salt to taste

Dry the meat chunks and brown in a large Dutch oven. Remove when browned and add in the onions stirring til they reach a light gold color, salt the beef and the onions and add the beef back to the pot. Add in all of the sweet and one tablespoon of the hot paprika and stir til fully coated.

Add veal bones and garlic and fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until meat is fully tender, about 3 hours. Check the liquid level periodically to make sure the meat is all immersed.

When the meat is fully tender add in the vegetables and potatoes along with the caraway seeds and the rest of the hot paprika. Remove your veal bones and TASTE your soup. You may need more salt, more water, taste and adjust.

The vegetables will take about 30 minutes to cook and become tender and then you can serve.

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