Goulash-style Soup

May 13, 2011

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I know my northern hemisphere friends are just gonna tell me to man up down under because our winters are nothing compared to theirs. But man alive, help me! I don’t do cold well at all. Temperatures have plunged and immediately I went nuts and pilfered my wardrobe to see how many clothes I could pile on myself before I collapsed from heat stroke. Wearing 3 pairs of socks; yup totally over the top.

It’s also the time when I need heat and fire in my belly. I ain’t going to lie, I’m totally boring and predictable because straight away my body ached for some type of stew, soup or broth and I was stuck on auto pilot. If I ever was to open up a food establishment, it would most definitely be a soup kitchen. I can’t get enough of it.

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Goulash is a Hungarian dish that I’ve always been in love with but my first cooking experience with it involved, er, instant sauce packets (my bad!). Since then, I made a point to learn it when I saw the light of cooking from scratch. I just fell head over heels for it and it sparked my lust for paprika. I have pounds of the stuff at home; spicy, mild, sweet, smoked, Hungarian and Spanish. It’s my scarlet muse in the kitchen.

I’ve always kept my goulash stews rustic, choosing a more simple approach with just the meat, veges, stock and paprika. This time round, inspired by a round of cookbook porning, I’m making a soup version with a bit more frills; extra herbs, red peppers to boost the paprika and red wine for therapy (and just because everything is made better with wine, amen).

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I’ve also had a heap of leftover parsley and after vowing not to waste anything, I made a sort of minimalistic salsa verde by grinding it up with garlic, sea salt, pepper and enough oil to make a paste. I then used this to finish off my soup along with creme fraiche. Definitely an alternative to merely garnishing the soup with freshly plucked leaves (because frankly, I couldn’t be arsed picking and chopping the stalks into oblivion). By the way, this paste would also be fantastic to mix in with some farfalle or orecchiette for a lazy pasta meal.

This is everything a winter dish should be; a bit of brawn, wine and a bit of fire. Perfect for the shivering frosty drama queens of Sydney’s west ;)

Goulash-style Soup

Serves 4-6


2 Tbl olive oil
500g beef shin or shank, diced into 1.5 cubes
2 rashers of middle bacon, diced
2 small brown onions, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 large red capsicum (red pepper), deseeded and finely chopped into 1cm cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
1 Tbl of sweet red paprika (preferably Hungarian)
1.5 Tbl smoked paprika

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 x 140g tub of concentrated tomato purée
250ml red wine
3 bay leaves
1 L beef stock
250ml water
Crème Fraiche or sour cream to serve


In a pot, heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat, then brown the beef in batches until golden. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the bacon and sauté for a few minutes until slightly crispy. Remove from pot and set aside.

Add the onions, garlic, capsicum and carrot and stir to coat in the fat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and sweat the veges for about 5 minutes until slightly softened.

Remove the lid, increase heat and push aside the veges. Add the paprika, cayenne pepper and caraway directly onto the hot fat at the bottom of the pot and ‘toast’ the spices for about 10 seconds. Add the tomato purée then stir to combine.

Deglaze with the red wine and bring to a boil. Return the beef (plus juices) and bacon to the pot then add the bay leaves, beef stock and water.

Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low. Gently simmer for about 1.5 hours skimming the surface of foam occasionally until the beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Check for seasonings and adjust with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with a dollop of parsley paste, crème fraiche or sour cream if you wish.

Note: To make the parsley paste, roughly chop up a bunch of parsley and place in a food processor along with 2-3 peeled cloves of garlic (feel free to adjust to taste). Add a good large pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper and process. Add enough olive oil gradually until you have a paste consistency. Store in a clean jar in the fridge.

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Adapted from Snowflakes and Schnapps by Jane Lawson.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemarie Warner December 14, 2011 at 04:44

Hi Christine, lol first I have to build up my menu of soups. ok, dinner tonight is sorted! Interesting recipe but hardly real gulyás! 3. Red wine-in a gulyás?


Tiberius October 16, 2011 at 15:06

Interesting recipe but hardly real gulyás! Allow me to make some observations and clear up some Western misconceptions on what is Hunagary’s national dish:

1. There is no such thing as “goulash stew”. Gulyás is always a soup. The stew is called “pörkölt”.
2. Bacon-never. Red capsicum-too sweet. Smoked paprika-no, use hot paprika instead (plus of course sweet. Cayenne pepper-not used in Hungary. 140g of tomato paste-way too much, maybe one or two fresh tomatoes.
3. Red wine-in a gulyás? Not in a million years!
4. Sour cream-never in a gulyás. No accident in a country which uses it so liberally.

I am not saying your recipe would not be ok but please let’s not call it gulyásleves.


Zita October 11, 2011 at 18:54

Great post and beautiful photos! I’m Hungarian and I used to cook and love goulash soup. I still love it but I’m vegetarian now so I don’t eat it. :)

I’ve just found your blog this morning and I really like it. Congratulations!


Jane Lawson May 26, 2011 at 23:47

My pleasure and thanks for your lovely words. J


Janen Lawson May 17, 2011 at 07:58

Hey that looks great! Glad you are enjoying the soup – it happens to be one of my favourite recipes in the book. Thanks for passing on the love. Jane L


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 17:30

Hi Jane!

No no thank you! S & S is one of my fave cookbooks for winter food (and gorgeous photography!). Since the cold chill in May, it has been a regular on our menu so it’s one of our favourites too. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment :)


Sara @ Belly Rumbles May 16, 2011 at 18:29

Looks so hearty and warming.


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 01:17

Definitely put a fire in my belly! :P


Gianna May 15, 2011 at 16:08

This soup looks like it could keep me warm for days. Don’t worry Karen, you are not alone in your multiple sock trend. It will catch on come June!


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 01:02

Hehehe wonder if I’ll go up to 4 pairs?! LOL


leaf (the indolent cook) May 14, 2011 at 11:08

Such a gorgeous intense red! And yes, it’s cold and I’m curled up in bed. Something warm and enticing like this is just the ticket!


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 01:01

Especially if someone else makes and brings it to you while you’re curled up in bed :) Sigh, we can all dream…


dayle May 14, 2011 at 09:48

oh yum goulash might well be on menu this weekend! i am writing up my shopping list just now…lovely images to further inspire me to do this. dayle


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 01:00

Thanks so much Dayle! I hope you enjoy it! :)


Diva May 14, 2011 at 04:52

I just stumbled upon your blog, I love it. I love the fact that you actually replay to comments. So many blog don’t. Great photos!!


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 00:59

Hi Diva,

Thanks so much! I admit it was hard before finding time to respond to every comment but it’s something that I’m trying to change now. Glad there is someone who appreciates it! :D


mademoiselle délicieuse May 13, 2011 at 22:06

Yes, please! And I’m sure the red wine is also there for “health” reasons too – enhance blood circulation and therefore warmth, etc. =p


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:19

Oh yeah totally. Wine is good for the mind, body and soul! :P


Christine May 13, 2011 at 16:28

love the gorgeous colour combo of the parsley, creme fraiche and the goulash.. ps you should totally open a soup kitchen :)


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:18

Hi Christine, lol first I have to build up my menu of soups. An enjoyable task I reckon!


OohLookBel May 13, 2011 at 15:01

That is one moody soup, if there is such a thing. The blood red looks brilliant against the dark background and creme fraiche.


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:18

Thanks Belle! Hehe at least the dying winter light is good for one thing :)


Betsy May 13, 2011 at 14:50

yum! This looks really good. Pics are great too!


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:17

Thanks so much Betsy! How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? :)


Phuoc'n Delicious May 13, 2011 at 12:46

HAHA frosty drama queens of the West.. *puts hands up* I hate the cold too! I’m refusing to go into uni so I stay at home instead and wear 2 pairs of socks, tights under my pjs and a jumper! Eeek! Old lady much? lol

Can I come over for a bowl and freeze with you?


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:17

Rofl totally understandable! Who wants to venture out in this weather? :\


Relishment (Rory Hart) May 13, 2011 at 09:58

This is just what the doctor ordered! The cat has taken to diving under the covers the first chance she gets and huddling between us, some welcome extra warmth for us I can tell you!

Bookmarked this for the long weekend ahead!


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:16

LOL as for me, I’ve been holding my dog hostage to sit by me to keep my legs warm. Poor thing just wants to roam around but I’m making him stay hehe.


Howard May 13, 2011 at 09:15

Looks awesome, especially with the sudden change in temperature. Assume you can chuck this in the freezer for a quick meal? Bring on winter and hearty meals!


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:15

Oh totally Howard! Nothing freezes quite like soup or stew. I like your thinking :)


Martyna (Wholesome Cook) May 13, 2011 at 09:03

Oooh goulash… My Mum’s favourite meaty soup! She uses smoked piquillo peppers or Hungarian pepper paste (in tubes) for extra flavour too. The soup looks so lovely all dressed up in smoked paprika red. Yum! And like you, I adore all kinds of paprika.


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:15

Hi Martyna, ummm I love the sound of piquillo peppers! And I’m intrigued about the pepper tubes :)


Miss T May 13, 2011 at 06:12

My favourite winter staple! look amazing! I cheat and use Gewurzhaus’ gulasch spice mix – divine. Loving the salsa verde idea too. ok, dinner tonight is sorted! Melbourne has decided it suddenly wants to be Helsinki, we are freezing toooooo.
T x


Citrus and Candy May 13, 2011 at 23:14

Ooh wow and here I was using er, Continental :\ I should look for it in Sydney and give it go on the lazier nights!


Maggie@BritishBaking May 13, 2011 at 05:17

That looks delicious… But I’m not sure if I mean the goulash or the glass of wine!


Citrus and Candy May 17, 2011 at 17:34

Hehe can it be both that are delicious Maggie? :D


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