Goulash Soup

How often are our memories aroused by a certain odour?  Because we encounter most new odours as children, when we smell something as an adult we care teleported back to earlier years when we made that association of an odour with an event, person or activity.  Our noses have been called our ’emotional brain’ because smell can call up memories and powerful responses in a flash.

The smell of home-baking and 4711 Eau de Toilette take me back to my Granny’s kitchen; Old Spice after shave reminds me of my Grandpa; pine trees – Christmas; smell of wet towels – boarding school locker room; Glühwein (means to mull) – apres ski; Goulash Soup – lunch on the ski slopes of St Jakob.

The warm association of a steaming bowl of goulash soup followed by several glasses of mulled wine take me back to my only white Christmas in 1975.  When two friends and I found ourselves at a loose end for Christmas in 1975 we decided to book ourselves on a skiing holiday in Austria.  None of us had skied before so we followed each other around the learning slopes, graduating to the beginners rope tow.  Included in the tour cost were ski lessons – with Freddie; oh Freddie, he was the darling of the slopes with a large posse of admirers.  Freddie’s easy-going personality was the perfect ingredient to enticing us to greater feats all the while exhorting the troupes to “Benz za knees, Benz za knees”.

Each day followed the same routine which we established quickly.  Late start to the morning which we needed to thaw out in the sunshine, a morning on the slopes with a lesson or two with Freddie followed by a two course lunch:  Goulash Soup and mulled wine.  After lunch we were so much more relaxed on the slopes which presented Freddie with a problem:  “You guys are so much relaxed, you benzing za knees too much now”.

I am sorry that you won’t have the same association of goulash soup and mulled wine that I do, you may have your own, and if you’re happy to share I’d like to hear it.  However, because I was asked by Paula for the recipe here it is. The recipe may look like a lot of work but believe me it is easy to follow and you will not be disappointed in the results.  Like any homemade soup it is even better the next day and it freezes well.


If I’m time poor I will brown off the onions, garlic and meat and then add everything to the post and set it going.  At different times it has needed more water/stock to keep the soup consistency as opposed to being like a stew.  I also give the stick blender (with the chopping attachment) a few rounds of the pot to help chop up any of the larger pieces.

As well as the happy memories accompanying this nourishing comfort food, I also associate Goulash Soup with the place where I met the MOTH (man of the house).  The MOTH, the soup and the memories … they’re all keepers!


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