This is a main meal soup – a soup for heroes. Don’t be scared by the amount of paprika – it works, we promise you.
- 1kg/2lb 4oz braising steak or venison
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 2 celery sticks, leaves and all, diced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 tbsp good sweet Hungarian paprika
- 2 tbsp caraway seeds, crushed
- 60g/4 tbsp tomato purée
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 litres/3½ pints good beef stock
- 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
- flaked sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- soured cream and flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Trim the meat and cut it into bite-sized chunks. In a large bowl, mix the flour with a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the beef and toss so that all the chunks are dusted with flour.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and brown the beef in small batches, setting each batch aside while you brown the next. Take care not to crowd the pan or the beef will steam rather than brown.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan, add the onions, carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until they start to soften.
Add the beef, paprika, caraway seeds, tomato purée and bay leaves, then pour in the beef stock.
Stir well, cover the pan and simmer for at least 1½ hours until the beef is starting to get tender. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Check the seasoning before serving.
Serve the soup in bowls with a generous swirl of soured cream and a good sprinkling of parsley.