Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gouliscious Goulash - A Joint Venture - Betsy & Boley

Pam and Boley graced us with a vacation visit over the last couple of days. Boley hadn't had the chance to make his dish this month and, while I had made one attempt, I was unhappy with the results. So, we decided to do something unprecedented for the cooking challenge - a joint contribution. Here goes. As Boley and Pam are spending the day in the car today, I'm posting on our behalf. Thanks go to our photographer Pam.

In determining what we would make, we discovered that both of our mother's made Goulash growing up. My mother was the queen of hot dishes and casseroles and goulash was a standard (usually served with a pile of butternut brand white bread with margerine and a coke classic for good measure, yum). For those of you not in the know, goulash is very simple and is primarily made up of ground beef, macaroni, and stewed tomatoes. We thought we'd try to dress it up a bit as our pallets have evolved a bit since childhood.

Ingredients included the standard elbow macaroni, 2 lbs. of ground beef, 1 large can diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce (should have used another), kosher salt, worcestershire sauce, green and red peppers (1 each), 1 onions, 3 cloves garlic, 2 stalks celery, oregano, paprika, pepper, tomato paste, chile powder, and 2 bay leaves. As I said, we kind of just kept adding the seasoning to taste so we've got no help for you on quantities. But as this dish tends toward bland anyway, I think it might be hard to over do it.

The process: There was some chopping.

Then we sauteed the ground beef, onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a large dutch oven adding paprika, chile powder, and worcestershire sauce.

Lou looked on eagerly. E.J. looked on skeptically.

When the meat was browned, we added the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce along with more chile powder and worcestershire sauce. We added the bay leaves, salt, pepper, and oregano. At this point we decided we could use a bit more tomato flavor as well, so we added some tomato paste. We let this simmer with the lid on for a bit while we boiled the macaroni.

Then we added the macaroni. At which point we decided it might need more liquid. We added about a cup of water and some more tomato paste. Then let it cook for a bit longer so the macaroni could absorb the flavor. In hindsight, actually cooking the macaroni in the sauce might have added a lot of flavor to the macaroni. Of course that would have required a lot more liquid and a longer cooking time.

Time to taste it. Um, that should be a thumbs up.

And the results? It was a winner all around (even if our "uncomfortable photo" faces don't express it). While staying true to the concept, we were able to add a little more flavor. We even got fancy and served it with a sourdough baquette and some wine rather than the traditional white bread and coke. E.J. and I will be enjoying the leftovers again tonight sans wine because I'm off the sauce for the next few days after four straight days of drinking! Lushes!


  1. HURRAY! Looks tasty good, and looks like you guys had fun cooking. Wish we could've joined the party! :)

  2. This looks really good. I would like to curl up with a bowl of it in front of the TV on a sunday night. Well done!

  3. Thanks guys, looks yummy. Did you serve it with wine from the winery you visited?