1Season beef with salt and black pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat; cook and stir beef in hot oil in batches until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large stockpot and reserve drippings in the skillet.
2Return skillet to medium heat; stir onions into the reserved drippings, drizzle olive oil over onions, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot with beef.
3Combine paprika, caraway seeds, black pepper, marjoram, thyme, and cayenne pepper in the skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and stir; transfer to the beef and onion mixture.
4Stir 3 cups chicken broth into beef mixture. Add tomato paste, garlic, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaf; place stockpot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until a fork inserts easily into the meat, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Real goulash is more like a soup, so if you want yours thinner, just add 2 or 3 extra cups of broth.