Traditionally, this soup would be made with cubes of beef, but when you want a quick weeknight dinner, who can wait for meat to braise? We use ground beef instead. If you like your soup spicy, substitute hot paprika for some of the sweet paprika here.
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 pound boiling potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/4 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups canned low-sodium beef broth or homemade stock
3 cups water
How to Make It
Set a large pot over moderate heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break it up, until the meat is no longer pink, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the potatoes, paprika, cayenne, marjoram, caraway seeds, salt, tomato paste, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Variation:: Use one cup of wide egg noodles instead of the potatoes. You'll only need to simmer the soup for about five minutes, since the noodles don't take quite as long to cook.
Wine Recommendation: France's southern Rhône is one of the world's treasure troves of red-wine values. Seek out a sturdy, spicy Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages or, if you can find one, a Vacqueyras. Their roasted raspberry flavors will complement the soup well.