Pa's Goulash Recipe
Nothing beats a hearty pot of soup slowly simmering on the stove as the weather turns frosty and leaves are gently falling. Ah, fall. Darkness engulfs our lives minute by minute earlier each day. We migrate indoors, where it is warm. This change in light and climate serves as my seasonal indicator to start making homemade soups.
Ordinarily, I start a fresh pot of soup in the late afternoon, right before the kids burst into the house. By then, I have changed out of my work clothes into a comfy warm up suit and I am surrounded by, almost numbed by the heavenly scents wafting around me.
Fresh onions slowly caramelizing, colorful vegetables sautéing in olive oil, tender meat browning to a crisp, savory spices, deep amber broth slowly simmering and melding divine flavors together for the perfect pot of soup. I am brought back to reality with the kids’ energetic excitement bursting through the kitchen over the discovery of my pot of soup. You can literally smell it before you enter the house, mixed together with the scents of leaves burning and fireplaces just being lit. The light breeze carries a hint of enticing aromas to my nose.
It does not make a difference if it is a classic, like French Onion or Chicken Noodle, or something slightly more exotic like Goulash Soup. It’s purely a personal preference. So gather your fresh ingredients, pour yourself a glass of wine and settle into a satisfying culinary adventure as you get ready to make homemade soup!
PA’S GOULASH SOUP
This is my father’s recipe that his mother cooked for him when he was growing up. Sweet paprika has a full, sweet pepper flavor without the heat. Four generations later we are still cooking Goulash Soup!
- 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch little cubes
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound carrots, finely diced
- 1 leek, finely diced
- 1 red pepper finely diced
- 1/2-teaspoon salt
- 1-teaspoon black pepper
- 1-tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2- tablespoons tomato paste
- 8 cups beef broth
- 1 package brown gravy powder, I use Knorr
- 1-tablespoon flour
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed deep pan. Your oil needs to be hot, but not smoking. Sear meat in two batches. Remove meat, and place on a covered plate for later. Melt butter in pan and sauté onions, carrots, leeks, red pepper on medium until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir to pick up any pieces from the bottom. This will give your soup good flavor. Add salt, pepper, paprika and tomato paste and stir well. Add beef broth and browned meat, as well as any liquids on the meat plate. Bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour. If your broth is evaporating too fast you can add a little bit more.
Mix together gravy package and flour in ½ cup cold water until lumps disappear. Add to the soup, stirring the entire time, and boil for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste.
Cook’s Tip: Searing meat involves browning meat quickly over high heat, usually to prepare it for a second, moist cooking method. A small amount of fat sets off a series of reactions between the sugars and the proteins, caramelizing the surface. This results in a more complex, rich flavor. Be sure to pat the meat dry with paper towels. Use a heavy pan, such as cast-iron. Sear at a high temperature and do not overcrowd the pan.