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Goulash soup – warm and comforting

January 27, 2012

Goulash soup and a view of Brat Tor, DartmoorI’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.

Dartmoor  My return to Dubai was greeted by exceptionally cold weather that seems to chill you to the bone as there is nowhere to go to get warm.

Dartmoor and goulash soup

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.

Pew Tor, Dartmoor

It’s a time to look back on golden memories and feel the glow from the closeness of family and friends.

Goulash soup and bread

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
sour cream
flat-leaved parsley, chopped roughly

Goulash soup


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.

View of Brentor church

  1. January 27, 2012 6:23 pm

    What a wonderful soup! So comforting and warming. Great clicks of England.



  2. January 27, 2012 6:24 pm

    Fantastic pictures Sally! I really want to go on a walk in Dartmoor right now, England is so beautiful! Goulash is very good to warm you inside, I like it too.

    I am so sorry for your loss, a warm hug to you x

  3. January 27, 2012 6:46 pm

    I love the flavors of goulash and this soup looks wonderful! And comforting as well.
    Beautiful photos of Dartmoor as well, photos that seem to fit your feelings. I am sorry for your loss, Sally.

  4. January 27, 2012 6:58 pm

    My thoughts are with you all Sally. Cooking is comforting, lovely recipe xx

  5. January 27, 2012 7:44 pm

    What a wonderful, comforting post Sally – beautiful photography, heart warming fare and a gentle reminder that our time on this earth is to be relished.
    Thank you and love.

  6. January 27, 2012 8:16 pm

    I am sorry to hear about your loss.

    The soup looks amazing, warm and comforting indeed. Lovely.

  7. January 27, 2012 8:38 pm

    Terribly sorry for your loss, Sally.
    Fantastic photos as always …

  8. January 27, 2012 8:43 pm

    Sally, I’m sure this post was not an easy one to write. I hope that the kitchen, with all its repetitive tasks and comforting aromas, continues to serve as a happy, constructive distraction that keeps you and family close together. My prayers and wishes to you all.

  9. January 27, 2012 8:44 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. A nice, quiet activity like making soup, and the meditative tasks of chopping and stirring are good for reflection. I make a very similar soup with the caraway and paprika but I often just use ‘meaty’ mushrooms like shiitake and portabella. But a bit of gorgeous,, grass-fed meat is always welcome. PS I have recently put on a blogroll and you are in amongst my favourites.

  10. January 27, 2012 10:30 pm

    Best photos ever x

  11. January 27, 2012 11:56 pm

    I’m so sorry to read about your loss, Sally. It seems many of us has had a rough start to 2012…
    Here’s to staying warm and a better New Year.

  12. January 28, 2012 2:59 am

    My condolences Sally.. xxx

  13. January 28, 2012 6:47 am

    First time visiting your blog and the photography mesmeries me. You have a great blog here, and I’m so glad to discover you, would happily follow your great posts from now:-)

  14. faiza abbasi permalink
    January 28, 2012 5:52 pm

    I feel the sorrow in your words. May you find comfort in whatever you do in this time of hardship. Time heals many wounds. My prayers are with you.

  15. Shumaila permalink
    January 28, 2012 7:32 pm

    I am loving the weather. It’s all reminding me of my time in england…there’s something about a cold evening, a warm living room and a deep sofa…and of course a bowl of soup..really lovely photos..

  16. January 28, 2012 8:03 pm

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of a family member, your melancholy was evident in your post and yet the soup made brighter and more hopeful……the soup is one of my favourites, a blast from the past when I lived in West Germany. The photos remind me of a recent walk up the hill to our local village church in North Yorkshire, near the moors, invigorating and cathartic. Lovely photos too…….. Karen

  17. January 30, 2012 11:45 am

    So sorry to hear of your loss.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  18. February 4, 2012 7:05 pm

    I was sorry to hear of your loss, I can understand the need for comforting food in such circumstances.

    I’ve never made ghoulash. This looks perfectly warming and nourishing…and I’m sure I have some stewing steak in the freezer.

  19. February 5, 2012 7:57 pm

    Sorry to hear about your loss Sally! Sadly I, too, had lost my grandfather a few weeks ago. Loss is never easy, but as you said, we find comfort in the good memories and hope that the ones we lost rest in peace. I too find the kitchen is one place to dish out all the emotions, the mechanical aspect of food making is therapeutic. Hope you are comforted at this hard time.
    Beautiful pictures, and one excellent soup to warm the heart xx
    thanks for sharing

  20. February 13, 2012 11:46 pm

    Oh I am sorry to hear this Sally. I know we spoke about it previously and you said the end was near. I am glad you and your husband had a chance to say goodbye and that he is at peace now. There are times when only soup will do, and this is one of them. Hugs from London. X

  21. February 17, 2012 7:54 pm

    Sally, what a beautiful post. You told your story of grief through the photos of your walk on Dartmoor in such a poetic way. Thanks for sharing that with us. May God bless and comfort your family during this time of loss.


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