This was a dish my father made frequently. He liked to vary it by swapping out the beef occasionally for pork. He even made it with pork tenderloin once, which I remember being very good.
The main thing which remained consistent for him was the ratio of onion to meat. He told me it was very important to use equal weights. He liked to add tomato juice to his goulash (considered sacrilege by some) whereas I prefer to add a large can of diced tomatoes instead.
I don't remember if he added caraway seeds or not; I do know my grandmother added them to hers. I used to really dislike the taste of them, and was terribly disappointed if any turned up in a goulash or a nice loaf of rye bread. In recent years they have grown on me and I often find myself adding caraway seeds to my goulash; the flavour just seems to belong there.
1/4 lb bacon, diced
2-3 large yellow onions, chopped (about 2 lbs)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
1-2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, (optional)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Better than Beef Bouillon, or 2 cubes beef bouillon
2 large waxy potatoes, cubed (about 1 lb)
cooked egg noodles, (optional)
sour cream and chopped fresh parsley, to garnish, (optional)
Fry the bacon in a soup pot until it gets crispy. Remove some of the rendered fat if it looks like there's too much. Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat a bit and cook until they begin to turn a golden brown. Stir in the paprika, caraway seeds and black pepper. Add the beef and stir until it's well coated with the onion and paprika mixture. Continue to cook, stirring for about 5 minutes until the meat loses it's redness.
Then add the tomatoes, bell pepper, bay leaves, and bouillon. Reduce the heat even further, to the lowest setting, cook covered for about 2 - 2 1/2hrs.
Add the potatoes and cook another hour or until the meat is very tender. Check and adjust the seasoning.
Serve over cooked egg noodles or with bread. Garnish with sour cream and parsley, if desired.