Nearly every cafe in the Black Forest serves this soup, again displaying the influence of Hungarian cuisine in the region. You will undoubtedly notice the large amount of onions I call for here. This is customary, not only for flavor, but also to give body to the soup, which is traditionally prepared without any flour or cornstarch. I have suggested the latter just in case you find that the soup does need to be thickened a bit before serving. Also traditional to this dish are caraway seeds and lemon zest, so typical of Black Forest cuisine.
1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic
2 1/2 pounds white onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds beef (preferably beef chuck), cut into 1-inch cubes salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy
3/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
3 cups Beef Stock or 3 cups beef flavored broth
3/4 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
, or to taste
1 1/4 tablespoons freshly ground caraway seeds
zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped cornstarch
, as needed Egg Noodles
, for serving (optional)
sour cream, for garnish
Heat the oil or melt the butter in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes.
Season the beef with salt and pepper, place the pieces in the pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until the beef is browned on all sides and the pan is nearly dry.
Pour in 1 cup of the wine to deglaze, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and continue to boil until the wine is reduced to the point where the pan is nearly dry again.
Stir in the tomato paste, add the remaining 1/2 cup of red wine, and cook until the pan is nearly dry once more.
Reduce the heat to medium low, add the paprika, stock, red pepper flakes, and ground caraway seeds, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the paprika from burning. If the soup is still too thin after 30 minutes, mix 1 part cornstarch and 2 parts water in a small bowl (start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water), drizzle about half of it into the simmering soup, and cook until it is thickened, adding more if necessary.
Season the soup with additional salt and pepper if necessary and stir in the lemon zest just before serving.
If desired, place some egg noodles in individual bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.
Be sure to grind the caraway seeds fresh to obtain the most flavor, and add the lemon zest just before serving to add crispness and freshness to this robust soup.