It’s cold and rainy today in Michigan. A typical fall Sunday.
Weather like this calls for comfort food.
Carby, meaty, spicy, hearty comfort food!
When I was a kid, I remember my grandma cooking something she called “goulash”. It was really just hamburger, elbow macaroni, and tomato juice.
As I got older, I had a few experiences with a more traditional Hungarian gulyas, or goulash. This dish has so much more depth, and is exactly the kind of food that you could say “sticks to your ribs”.
…Or your thighs, haha.
I’ve adapted a few recipes over the years, and this is what I’ve ended up with. It’s got a little kick to it, and it makes awesome leftovers! I swear it’s even better the next day!
Next time it’s cold and you want something comforting for dinner, give this a try! You won’t be sorry!!
Not Your Nana’s Goulash!
- 1.5 lbs. fajita-cut beef (you can also use stew meat, but be sure the cubes are small!)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1.5 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 small yellow (or red, or orange, or green) pepper, finely chopped
- 1 – 14oz. can unseasoned, diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 cup V8 or tomato juice
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- olive oil (or bacon fat!)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
Heat enough oil (or bacon fat – seriously, it makes everything taste amazing!) to generously coat the bottom of a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion, pepper, and garlic and cook till soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and brown well, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Once the beef is browned, turn the heat down a bit and add the paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Cook a few minutes until fragrant. Add in the butter and flour and stir well so there are no lumps; this will help to thicken the sauce later.
Deglaze the pan by adding the canned tomatoes (do not drain – add the juice and all!) and scraping up the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato juice, apple cider, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, and then cook over low heat for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
If you like, you can stir in sour cream a few minutes before serving to make a creamier sauce. I’ve done it both ways, and they are both delicious.
Serve over rice, potatoes, pasta or your favorite starch! I like spaetzle, which is a small German dumpling. You can find these dried in the pasta aisle, and all you need to do is boil them in salted water, drain, and toss into a sauté pan with a bit of butter to crisp up!