The Bastardization of Goulash {goulash}

Or the stealthy preparation of beefy mac, a play in three acts.

I can’t even front that this meal is remotely authentic in any way. It’s probably more closely related to a box of Lean Cuisine Macaroni and Beef than it is to traditional Hungarian goulash but what do you expect when you base a recipe off something from Bobby Dean, the tilapia of the Food Network. (By the way, I’m not sure what I mean by that other than I think tilapia is a bland cop-out – so I guess that’s what I mean. Sorry Bobby).

According to Wikipedia, the web’s foremost expert on almost being right, goulash is a soup or stew of meat, noodles and vegetables (especially potato) seasoned with paprika and other spices. Especially potato. This recipe absolutely contains no potatoes but it does have meat, noodles, two vegetables (three if you count bacon) and spices. So you could probably also call it lasagna, chicken noodle soup or fried rice.

Don’t get me wrong, it tastes good and it sounds funny – two very important characteristics of a good meal (also see: pu pu platter, kibbeh balls and hot dog). It’s also relatively easy and will feed an entire city block. You may want to half this recipe though since it doesn’t freeze well*. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have.

If you are expecting company and want to surprise them with glorified cafeteria food, here is the recipe:

  • 1.5 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 2 15. oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt (Lawry’s)
  • 2 cups dried macaroni or other tubular noodle
  • 3-4 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • several dollops of Daisy

My meats are prepped, the onions diced and the garlic minced. Now comes the bacon which is how many recipes should start. As I said, this recipe is derived from Bobby Dean’s goulash which I found incredibly bland, so I added the bacon, paprika, cumin and sour cream. Grab a large pot and cook the bacon until crispy and delicious. Cook an extra piece for you and your pug. Eat as necessary.

Now you can saute your onions in the bacon fat as God intended. I will refrain from making you look at another picture of onions in my red Le Creuset. You’ve suffered enough. Once your onions are translucent, add in the meats to brown – you can use any combination of ground turkey and ground beef as you see fit.

Speaking of, I feel it’s important to share that my husband got me the most romantic gift any guy could give a gal for Christmas that we will be using tonight (wink wink). It’s a meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. He really knows the way to my heart.

Peep these meats, yo.

Now go ahead and add everything else into this except the sour cream.

Now all that happens is you just cover and simmer this for 20 minutes. After that, pull it off the heat and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Then it’s time to eat. As you can see, I used curlicues rather than elbows but I think I like macaroni better. Curlicues are like lipstick on a pig. No need to fancy this up with some gorgeous presentation or garnish. Oh, wait.

Oh, you fancy, huh? Obviously.

*If you do want to freeze this, stop before you add the noodles and pull out a few servings. Freeze the meat and sauce mixture and when you’re ready to eat again, thaw it and heat it up adding pasta then.