Gulyásleves (gulyás is herdsman, leves is soup in Hungarian) is a Hungarian soup made of beef, vegetables, ground paprika and other spices.
It originates from a dish cooked by the cattlemen (gulyás also means cowherd) who tended their herds in the Great Hungarian Plain, known as the Alföld or Puszta in Hungarian. These Hungarian cowboys often camped out with their cattle days away from populated areas, so they had to make their food from ingredients they could carry with themselves, and this food had to be cooked in the one available portable cauldron (called bogrács) over an open fire.
The original dish called bográcsgulyás was a stew, not a soup. Traditional Hungarian bográcsgulyás (cauldron gulyás) is often still cooked outdoors over an open fire in a cauldron, a Hungarian style "Barbecue". Later on when the dish left the peasant cuisines and became popular even in the town, it started to be cooked more like a soup.
Nowadays the dish served in the Hungarian restaurants is a soup, but the locals cook the dish called gulyás as a stew and gulyasleves (leves means soup) like a soup.
There are different variations of the recipe. The meat is beef, but often mixed meats are used (e.g. beef, pork and mutton/lamb). Tomatoes, carrots and fresh peppers (often hot chilies) are also added. Onions, paprika and caraway seeds provide its flavor. Cubed potatoes or pasta squares are typically added to this spicy soup.
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Hungarian Gulyas Leves, easteuropeanfood.about.com
Gulyasleves Recipe, homecooking.about.com