1In a large, heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off most of the bacon fat (if there is a lot) and brown the beef in batches, then transfer to a heavy cast iron pot or baking dish.
2Sauté the onions, carrot, parsnip and celery until the onions are softened, and add them to the beef in the pot. Stir in the paprika, garlic, thyme, caraway seeds (if using) and bay leaves.
3Add the stock and tomatoes, cover and cook at 300F for 2 1/2-3 hours, until the beef is very tender. If you like, add the potatoes about halfway through the cooking time. Remove the bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.
4Serve the goulash topped with dollops of sour cream and crispy bacon.
5Csipetke: Whisk 1 egg lightly, then stir in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt - the dough should be dense but a little stretchy and you should be able to pick it up and handle it with your hands. If it’s too dense, add a little water. Using dampened hands, pinch off little pea-size pieces of the dough and drop into the simmering goulash. Simmer for 5 minutes before serving.