Tuesday, January 8, 2008

American Style Hungarian Goulash

Last night for dinner, I went back to a dish from my childhood and made it vegetarian. When I was little my Grandma "Honey" used to make goulash all of the time. I thought she just made the word goulash up, and that it meant a lot of stuff thrown together and mixed with macaroni. Turns out I was wrong, she didn't make the word up, and goulash is really a Hungarian cowboy dish. Of course, being a cowboy dish, it's heavy on the meat. Traditionally it's meant to be cuts of stew beef, but when popularized by American cooks the stew beef was replaced with groudbeef because it was cheaper and more readily available. In Hungary goulash was not served with macaroni, but some other form of starch (sometimes potatoes) to thicken the dish.

My vegetarian version of goulash uses cooked lentils to replace the beef. The taste and texture were nearly the same as when my grandmother used to make me this dish with beef.

I didn't really follow a recipe, so I'll let you in on the ingredients and my best estimates for amounts, after that you are on your own, season it to your liking (just remember that it should not have a tomato-y taste, the paprika-ish taste should stand out). I used lentils that I had cooked in the crock pot with a bay leaf. If you are using canned lentils, or have cooked them unseasoned, I would add a bay leaf to the tomato sauce.

Vegetarian Hungarian Goulash
3/4 of a one lb. bag of elbow macaroni
3-4 cups of cooked lentils
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 Tbs sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried marjoram
a pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream

Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside. In a deep skillet heat 2 Tbs EVOO over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until translucent and tender. Mix in dried spices and mix around skillet to heat. Add in tomatoes and lentils, stirring to combine vegetables and spices. Next stir in 2 large dollops of sour cream, and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour drained macaroni into skillet and mix to combine macaroni with sauce.

We had our goulash with some apple slices on the side. This was a very kid friendly dish. Both girls ate tons of goulash (kind of takes you back to those grade school cafeteria days). So, it looks like goulash is going to make it into frequent rotation here.

Now that the holidays are over we have gotten back into our normal routine, with school, yoga, dance class, etc. So, we're back to our busy Tuesday evenings. I have some "No Chicken" noodle soup in the crock pot as I type. Rob and the girls will be eating noodle soup before dance class. I, on the other hand, will be dining at El Mundo with some of my girlfriends tonight. Lucky me!! Aren't I such a good mom and wife for still taking the time to prepare a healthy meal for my family, even when I can't share in it!!?? (Everyone needs to give themselves a little pat on the back now and again you know).

1 comment:

The Dalai Mama said...

Yu-um! I always loved goulash days in elementary school. I may have to give this one a try.