Hungarian goulash soup with sour cream and chives

Hungarian goulash soup with sour cream and chives

Dean Cambray

On my first visit to Hungary in the early 1990s I had dinner in a well-known restaurant, famous for local specialties. I was eager to try the country’s most famous dish … but it turned out to be a tourist rip-off and I couldn’t have been more disappointed. When I got back to Melbourne I had a go at making goulash myself, and I’m pleased to say that it was delicious!

The flavours of caraway, smoked paprika and cumin make a brillant soup, too – especially when topped with a good dollop of sour cream.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg braising beef, cut into 1 cm dice
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 red peppers
2 medium onions, finely diced
6 long red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1 litre beef stock
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 cups tomato passata
500g tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
2 large potatoes, peeled and finely diced
200ml sour cream, to serve
smoked paprika, to serve
2 tablespoons snipped chives, to serve


  1. Place the diced beef into a large mixing bowl with the spices, salt and pepper and toss well so it is evenly coated.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole over a medium heat. When the oil is sizzling, brown the beef in batches, so that the heat stays high. Transfer the browned beef to a plate.
  3. Halve the peppers lengthwise and rub them all over with a little more of the olive oil. Grill, skin-side up, until black and charred. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and slice away the seeds and pith. Chop roughly and place in a processor. Blitz on high to form a rough purée.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the casserole with the onion, puréed peppers and chillies and lower the heat. Sauté gently for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Return the beef to the casserole and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add the stock, wine and sherry vinegar to the casserole and stir well. Add the tomato passata, tomatoes and the herbs and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and stir in the potatoes. Simmer gently for 1 hour, uncovered, stirring from time to time. Top up with extra stock or water if needed.
  5. Taste just before serving, and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of paprika and chopped chives. Serve with warm crusty bread.
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