This is a recipe for Czech goulash soup, made from beef and potatoes, seasoned with crushed caraway seeds and dried marjoram. Gulášová polévka is widespread in Czech restaurants – every good pub will have gulášovka on its menu!
What Is Gulášová polévka
Czech or Bohemian goulash soup is made from thinly sliced beef, it has a distinctively spicy taste, and it goes well with fresh bread.
You can find similar recipes in Germany, Hungary, or even all across Central Europe. However, the Czech rendition of goulash soup is especially toothsome and appetizing.
TIP: If you are looking for real Czech goulash, check this recipe for Hovězí guláš!
I recorded a short audio clip on how to pronounce the Czech word gulášová polévka. The first word in the audio is "gulášovka", the last is "gulášová polévka", which means goulash soup.
This authentic recipe calls for more than a few ingredients, but wait, the delicious taste of Czech gulášová polévka will definitely surprise you.
- Beef chuck; or any kind of stewing beef
- Onion; peeled and roughly chopped
- Potatoes; all-purpose variety with medium starch content, eg. Yukon gold potatoes
- Flour; to thicken goulash soup
- Beef broth
- Cloves of garlic; peeled and finely chopped
- Pork lard
- Black pepper; ground
- Dried marjoram
- Caraway seeds; crushed
- Sweet paprika; eg. Hungarian paprika
Marjoram, sweet paprika and caraway seeds make this soup real Czech!
More Czech hearty soups:
- Česnečka – clear garlic soup, often used as a hangover cure
- Bramboračka – delicious Czech style potato soup
- Zelňačka – healthy and filling soup made from sauerkraut
Prepare all ingredients in advance, it will save your time while cooking.
- Cut the beef into small ¼ inch dices. Beef needs some time to soften; try to avoid making bigger or unevenly sized pieces. Add some salt and pepper to the diced meat.
- Peel the onion and chop it roughly. Peel the potatoes and dice them into 1-inch pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic and chop them finely.
- In a pot with a thick bottom, melt the lard over medium heat. Add chopped onion, sauté until lightly golden, stirring occasionally. It takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Add meat and caraway seeds, mix and fry until the meat's juices evaporate. Continue cooking until the meat gets a brown color crust. Increase the heat a bit if necessary.
- Turn the heat down, add flour and fry for 2 minutes while stirring. Add chopped garlic and sweet paprika. Whisk the beef broth, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook for 20 minutes.
- Only now add cubed potatoes and dried marjoram. Simmer for another 12-15 minutes until potatoes soften. Stir occasionally so that the soup doesn’t burn down.
- Season the finished soup with salt and ground pepper to your liking.
The soup is nutritious enough to be eaten as a main course.
How to Add Flavor to Goulash Soup
Making the base for gulášovka soup right is essential. You’ll need to fry the ingredients in the beginning. This way, the taste of goulash soup will amaze you!
Follow these steps (as decribed earlier in the article):
STEP 1: Cut beef into app. ¼ inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper:
STEP 2: Melt lard in a pot, add chopped onion and fry until golden while stirring:
STEP 3: Add beef, taste with crushed caraway seeds, fry over higher heat until the meat is browned:
STEP 4: Turn the heat down, add flour and fry for 1-2 minutes:
STEP 5: Add chopped garlic, sweet paprika, mix properly:
In the next step whisk beef broth and follow instructions in the recipe.
- It will be easier to cut the beef if you put the meat into a freezer for 30 minutes before handling it.
- Use ground beef instead of beef chuck dices; it’s a great time-saving tip. The soup will cook quicker, and you won’t need to waste time dicing the meat into small pieces.
- Add spices to the soup in the right way as described. They need to be put into the soup in precise order.
- Be patient and add cubed potatoes in the last phase of cooking. Beef needs to soften first. If you put potatoes too early, either beef could be chewy or potatoes overcooked.
Soups generally taste best if they are prepared from the beef broth. The ideal way is to prepare the broth at home and then freeze it – at least that’s the way I store it.
The soup uses flour to be thickened. Fry the flour for 1-2 minutes in fat until golden, then add the liquid and cook for another 15-20 minutes. This way, the floury taste will be eliminated, and the soup thickens. Follow the exact steps in the recipe to thicken this particular goulash soup.
A heavy-bottomed Dutch oven from the iron cast is ideal for making the goulash soup. Frying the onion and meat in it without them getting burnt is easy. A good-fitting heavy lid will take care of softening all the ingredients in the pot.
Gulášová polévka - Czech Style Goulash Soup
- 10 oz (280 g) beef chuck
- 1 onion (medium size)
- 3 cloves of garlic (+1 for final flavoring)
- ⅓ cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp lard
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (crushed)
- 1 Tbsp ground sweet paprika
- 5 cups (1,2 l) beef broth
- 3 potatoes (medium size)
- 1 Tbsp marjoram (dried)
- pepper ground
- Dice the beef into small pieces about ¼ x ¼ inch in size. Use a sharp knife. Season the cut meat with salt and pepper.
- Peel the onion and chop it finely. Peel the three cloves of garlic and cut them into small slices.
- Place a soup pot on a cooker set to a high temperature and add 1 tablespoon of lard. Fry the onion in the lard, stirring frequently until the onion turns golden brown.
- Add in the beef and caraway seeds. Fry the beef until its juice evaporates.
- Set the cooker to medium temperature and add in the flour. Stir it frequently for 1-2 minutes until the beef is covered with flour.
- Add the ground sweet paprika and the slices of garlic, stir and pour in the broth.
- Turn the heat up to a high temperature, season the soup with salt and pepper, bring it to a boil.
- Once the goulash soup starts bubbling, reduce the temperature, cover it with a lid and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel the potatoes and dice them into pieces about ½x1/2 inch in size. Put them into the soup carefully, add dried marjoram, cover the soup with a lid and let it simmer for an additional 10 – 15 minutes until the potatoes soften.
- Flavor the soup with a clove of freshly minced garlic, add in some salt and pepper as required.
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart