Goulash Soup (Gulyasleves)

Most people already know how famous the Hungarian Goulash is. It could almost be considered as the Hungarian national dish, though I'm not certain, for the Hungarians make lots and lots of fabulous dishes that are not well known. That being said, "goulash" is a very easy and tasty kind of "stew" - and I may add that the recipes you will see on the internet and in books may vary slightly because the recipes are handed down from generation to generation. Plus, as we "cooks" or "chefs" know - we tend to add our own touch to any recipe we make! A goulash soup, or Gulyasleves is made in the exact same manner as any goulash, except that it usually contains meat (either pork or beef), lots of vegetables, water of course, and sometimes Hungarian dried sausage which is called "Kolbasz" - of which there are two kinds: The spicy variety is called "Csabai" (pronounced tcha-ba-y) and the non spicy is "Dyulai" (pronounced dyoo-la-y) http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/hungariansausages/a/hungariansausag.htm

In Montreal there are several places where one can buy Hungarian sausages, Paprika and more. But I'll talk about that later. Here is the recipe for Goulash Soup ~ Enjoy !

Goulash Soup - Gulyasleves
Time: Approx. 1 hour
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4-6

1 large onion (or two shallots) chopped
1 cup each (or two halves) red pepper, green pepper (or yellow pepper) - not spicy peppers !
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1/2 lb stewing beef or pork cubes
1/2 cup each  diced carrots, celery, parsnips (I also use turnips or yellow beets at times)
1 large tomato, diced or 4-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Hungarian non-spicy dried sausage (Dyulai), sliced
2 heaping tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika (not the spicy kind)
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups water
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
Sour cream or plain yogurt

In a large pot, saute the onions and peppers in olive oil until transparent. About 3-4 minutes. Add meat and paprika, then stir to coat all over. Saute for approx. 15 - 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1 cup water, salt & pepper. Cover and simmer on medium until meat is almost tender. Remember to stir from time to time ! Add the vegetables, caraway seeds and 1 cup water, stir and simmer again for another 15 -20 minutes until meat is tender. ( Cooking time may be a little longer) Stirring from time to time. Add the sausage, and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Serve with 1 tbsp sour cream on top. This is a fabulous and hearty soup - my favorite comfort food - great for dipping a fresh baguette into, and you can even make it meat-less if you want !