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Maggie’s Pantry

By Maggie Conklin
Hungarian Goulash
Whenever I ask my husband “What do you want for dinner tonight?” most times he will answer “Goulash.”
I cringe, because I love it too, but can’t have just one bowl of my recipe. I sometimes wish it weren’t so delicious.
This recipe should make between six and eight servings, but it’s only good for four servings for the two of us because we Must Have Seconds.
As it gets colder outside and we need soul-warming heartiness. Who cares what the Farmer’s Almanac says; cold is cold, winter is winter, and we need hearty meals to get us through.
Goulash is from Hungary, nestled between Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia, and the Czech Republic. None are known for their comforts and luxuries unless you’re a czar or czarina. If Goulash was good enough to get Hungarian farmers and peasants through thousands of years of mountainous winters, it will work for us.
The best part: if you have picky eaters in your family you can hide a quarter, half or whole head of chopped-up cauliflower, let it cook down to mush and they’ll never know that it’s in there. Hidden healthy food!

  • 2 small or 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or buffalo, moose, turkey)
  • 14.5-oz. can of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. “Better then Bullion” brand beef broth in 2 cups hot tap water
  • ¼ to ½ head of cauliflower, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, anise seeds to taste plus lots of Hungarian paprika.
  • ¼ cup elbow macaroni, rotini or German spaetzle (more if desired)
  • 2 Tbsp. unbleached white flour
    Sauté yellow onions in cooking oil over medium-low heat until just getting soft. Add ground beef (or whatever) to the pot, brown completely and drain off fat. Add stewed tomatoes and let it heat up again.
    Add reconstituted beef bouillon and spices. Chop up cauliflower while it’s warming and add the bits to the mix. Simmer for 30 minutes.
    At that point you’ll still be able to see the bits of cauliflower. If you let it simmer another 30 minutes those bits will practically disintegrate, and your picky eaters likely won’t know it’s in there.
    Add the pasta, which probably states to cook it for 10 minutes but you should cook it for 10 minutes more than recommended.
    Put 2 tablespoons of unbleached white flour in a small container with about a ½ cup of cold water, seal with a tight lid and shake it well until there are no lumps.
    Slowly add this flour water a splash at a time to the goulash until it reaches the right thickness. The amount of thickness is completely up to you.
    Now get a blanky, a good book you’ve been meaning to read like one of the Saugatuck Murder Mysteries, light a fire in the fireplace if you have one, snuggle up and enjoy the OMG Good Goulash. It’s OK, you can have a second helping.

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