Soups and Stews: Part 2


Do the shorter days and cooler nights of August already leave you stewing over the long winter months ahead?! Don’t despair! While we can’t fix the Canadian winter weather, we can promise you lots of comforting and delicious soups and stews to help you get through it all not just in one piece, but with your health and energy positively souped-up!


Last week our Taste of Central Europe series brought you many bone-broth and soup-stock recipes to inspire you to try those delicious creations and benefit from their amazing nutritious value and healing powers. You may recall that we encouraged you to make some extra stock and to keep it on hand for some of the recipes we will be introducing you to this week. While many of the soups and stews we will share with you here can be made from scratch without the premade soup-stock, you should consider that for most of them, adding already pre-made bone broth will cut the cooking time by more than half. We all know how hectic and busy our lives can get, which is why so often people opt for take-out or delivery, and eating out instead of cooking at home. The recipes we share with you here this week are truly simple to follow and in most cases take less time to make then ordering and waiting for SkipTheDishes! Easy as duck soup they say! Above all, quality and taste is always guaranteed, since you will know exactly what you put in that pot and you can fully control how you spice your meal to be just the way you like it. We won’t even mention the amount of money you can save by preparing your own meals at home. This week’s cooking challenge is not a wooden spoon- it’s a real win-win!


Let’s start with a dish everyone is likely familiar with already – the famous Hungarian Goulash, or as it’s called in Hungary – Gulyásleves! This delicious soup should have really made it to our earlier installment of the most iconic foods of Central Europe, because there is honestly nothing quite as delicious in our Central European world of soups and stews as this amazing Hungarian creation. Gulyás is one of the most popular and recognizable dishes in Hungary and most certainly a dish every person in the region will know, though some mistakenly think of it as a stew and not a soup. Well, a real gulyás is most definitely a hearty soup and not a stew. Perhaps the confusion has something to do with one of the soup’s main ingredients, paprika, as Károly Gundel, the famous early-20th-century Hungarian chef, wrote in his classic Hungarian Cookery Book: “outside Hungary, almost all the dishes seasoned with paprika are labeled” as goulash. It is worth noting though that the earliest versions of goulash did not actually contain paprika at all. In fact, it is thought that paprika was only added to this meat soup sometime in the last 200 years. The word itself means herdsman or cowboy and the dish originated in the ninth century when shepherds would stew their meat in a small amount of water with local herbs until all liquid disappeared, later drying it in the sun. Whenever they were hungry they would take out a piece of the dried meat, add some water to rehydrate it and enjoy the broth with the meat like a soup. The dish has almost always been served with a simple bread, usually a thick-crusted one, which would make it easy to scoop up the soup and veggies with. It is best paired with a Pinot Noir or, if you can find it, a light Hungarian red wine, such as kadarka or kékfrankos. We’ve included a couple of simple recipes for you to follow in our Companion Recipes Section. Keep in mind that if you are going to be using your pre-made beef bone soup-stock in your recipe you will save a lot of time in the process of trying to cook the flavor into your goulash. The soup can be made in well under one hour with already made soup-stock and will have the same deep taste and wonderfully brothy flavor as the one you would be cooking for several hours on your stove. 


Another recipe which can be prepared in half the time with premade soup-stock is the famous Polish Bigos or Hunter’s Stew. It is not only an extremely healthy, delicious and simple meal to prepare, it is also one which can be made in larger quantities and frozen for up to 2 months without losing any of its original flavour or nutrition. How is that for cooking efficiently?! Bigos traces its origins back to the medieval times when it was the most common way of cooking game meat by hunters. The meat was usually paired with sauerkraut and cooked for hours to release all of its flavours into the stew. Sauerkraut was widely used in Central European cooking due to its high vitamin content and the fact that it could survive even the harshest winters without spoiling. It is low in calories, high in probiotics, iron, vitamins C and K2 and many other nutrients. Europeans have long believed that eating sauerkraut helped strengthen the immune system, improve your digestion and gut flora, as well as reduce your risk of disease. More recently the dish was popularized by nutritionists all over Europe as a great weight loss food, since some of the probiotics in sauerkraut are believed to reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs from your diet. No wonder this simple stew has remained such a popular staple in Polish cooking to this day! Bigos is absolutely the perfect fall and winter stew and we hope you will try it by making one of the recipes we have included here for you this week. Remember, it can really be as simple as stewing some onion, sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, wild mushrooms and some meat (beef chunks, sausage, bacon… – whatever you fancy most, or all together) in your soup-stock and you already have the simplest version of bigos ready to eat! Though bigos is Polish, we would be remiss not to tell you that a version of this kind of cabbage/meat stew exists in many other Central European countries and they are all absolutely delicious! Give the Croatian Čobanac or the Hungarian Székelykáposzta a try! We guarantee you that one of these will become your go to favourite and you will want to share it with your friends and family over the long winter months ahead. 

If you are hungry for some more soup and stew ideas, click on the links below and let your creative imagination fly! From a simple tomato or pea soup, to the exquisite Croatian Pašticada, you will not be disappointed by anything this week’s Central European Cookbook has to offer! 


Happy cooking! 

Companion Recipes & Resources


Hungarian Goulash/Gulyásleves 






Zupa Grochowa




Pomidorowa na rosole


Croatian Čobanac






Slovenian Vegetable Soup




Slovenian Recipe Book


Taste Atlas – 100 Soups


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