Ur-Oma's Gulyassuppe

Rev 1.25, last revised:  26-Jan-09

This recipe is my grandmother's version of what I knew as Hungarian Goulash Soup (Gulyás).  A hearty, warming, winter soup of the first order, this soup is one of my favorites to make when the weather starts to turn nippy.  Originally from Hungary, this soup has as many variations as it does cooks.  However, the basic ingredients for all versions is beef and sweet Hungarian paprika.  Although often made with tomatoes, the original soup gets its red coloring from the paprika and not tomatoes.  Serves about 6.

This soup is reputed to be the favorite, Bavarian midnight snack.  Apparently this habit flowed over into the neighboring Schwabenland region as well.  For best flavor, it should be made a day ahead.

Ingredients for Gulyassuppe:

In a large pot, using enough lard or bacon fat (read HERE if you're concerned about "real fats") sauté the meat until nicely browned all around.  If the pot is small, do the meat in batches in order to seal the meat and not just steam it.  Add the onions and garlic to--or after--the last batch.  Don't brown them too much else they'll get bitter.

Add the spices and broth or water, and bring to a gentle simmer until the meat is tender; about 45 minutes to an hour.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, partially uncovered until the liquid thickens up--about another hour or so.  If it gets too dry, add more water and cover better.  If it's too wet & sloppy for your taste, uncover it more and allow to steam off moisture a bit.  If you like your vegetables less cooked, add them later in the cooking period, or earlier to cook them softer.

Salt & pepper to taste.  You'll need more salt if you don't use prepared broth.

Serve in deep bowls with a thick, heavily buttered slab of my old-country farmers bread - Provender, and a cellar cool beer.  Or, omit the cabbages and veggies and serve Hungarian style over buttered noodles or spaetzle, with a dollop of sour cream with a sprinkle of freshly chopped chives, a scoop of Sweet & Sour Red cabbage.