Not too long ago my pals Andrew and Emily welcomed baby boy Porter Takehiro (photo by A. Skwish) to their fam, and then they decided to buy a house, so last night Jamie and I went over to help pack and to bring dinner. First of all, he's a total pumpkin, but then again, he's got the coolest parents ever, so that was a given. After spending an hour or so packing books, (they have a LOT of books) we tucked into this delish goulash that I had made the night before. I was inspired by smittenkitchen's lead -- she must live in my hungry brain! But what really sealed the deal is that goulash was one of my grandfather's favorite dishes, and making or eating it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I served it over big dumpling egg noodles and with a white wine and dill cucumber salad. It was so homey and easy and perfect for winter. My only complaint is that it was a little watery ... I think I'd reduce the water.
Gourmet, December 1994
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 (i used homemade stock that i made from the short rib bones)
1 beer (i used 2 below, new belgiums winter ale)
1 teaspoon salt
2 red bell peppers, chopped fine
In an 8-quart heavy kettle (helllloooooo new dutch oven. are you sensing a trend in my cooking?) 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, 60 to 75 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.