Goulash soup – warm and comforting
I’m feeling so cold. I want to be wrapped from head to toe in a soft, cashmere scarf that smells faintly of lavender. This weekend I walked on Dartmoor with the cold wind in my face, the bracken rusty and broken, tree branches exposed.
And I need warmth. A close member of the family shuffled off this mortal coil. He achieved a lot in his life and I hope he’s now in peace. My sadness is made deeper by witnessing the intense grief of people around me.
It’s a time to look back on golden memories and feel the glow from the closeness of family and friends.
Goulash soup – adapted from a recipe by Caroline Barty
If you were in a hurry you could pulse all the vegetables in a food processor but chopping by hand gives a more uniform texture (and I find repetitive tasks in the kitchen very soothing) especially using this method to chop the peppers.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped finely
2 sticks of celery, chopped finely
2 red peppers, seeds and membranes removed, chopped finely
1 green pepper, seeds and membranes removed, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g stewing beef (cut into cubes of about 1cm)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1.5 litres beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
flat-leaved parsley, chopped roughly
In a large saucepan, soften the onion, celery, red and green peppers and garlic in the oil over a medium heat for about 15 minutes (do not brown).
Add the beef, paprika and caraway seeds (if using) and stir for about 2 minutes to warm the spices. Next, add the tomatoes puree and cook for a further 2 minutes (just to cook away the slightly tinny taste it can give). Add the tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Once bubbling, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer very gently for 1 1/2 hours (until the beef is tender).
Use a stick blender to puree the soup, but don’t make it too smooth as you want to retain some texture. Alternatively, leave to cool a little and pulse in a liquidiser. Warm gently if required to heat through. Serve garnished with sour cream, parsley and accompanied with lots of crusty bread.