In Austria, warming bowls of goulash soup are served in all kinds of establishments — from quick-service restaurants along the Autobahn to Vienna's elegant Hotel Bristol. This hearty beef and vegetable soup can be found in many areas of central and eastern Europe, especially in regions that were once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Our satisfying rendition has chunks of beef and potato plus red peppers, bacon, onions, and garlic, all fragrant with paprika.
Makes about 16 cups, serving 12
- 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
- 3 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet*)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 5 cups beef broth
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped fine
- 4 large russet (baking) potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
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, transferring it as browned with slotted spoon to 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, salt, bell peppers, bacon, and chuck and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Add potatoes to soup and simmer, covered, occasionally until tender, about 30 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. Soup may be made 3 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, before chilling, covered. Reheat soup, thinning with water if desired.