Hungarian Goulash

A little while back, Karen mentioned tackling her Grandpa Don’s Hungarian Goulash recipe.  The other night, she dug up a scanned copy of a letter written to Karen’s family about 35 years ago while they were living in Alaska.  In it, Don describes how he had stayed home to cook dinner for “Mother and I – Hungarian Goulash, cold slaw, and champagne.”  He then provides the recipe for the goulash, and the following insight into the rest of the meal:

“The cold slaw takes cabbage and tang.  The champagne takes lots of grapes, or you can get them both at the store.  Just pop the cork.”

Needless to say, it’s obvious he had a sense of humor to go with his many other talents.  So while he may have won Grandma’s attention with a kiss like this…

How you kiss the girl you love!

…there is no doubt his devotion, sense of humor, and cooking had a lot to do with convincing her to stay!

Now, on to the goulash, which I’ve modified only a little from the recipe on that yellow piece of paper…

Gather Up:

  • 2-1/2 lbs grass-fed round steak (or other economy cut), cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup (HFCS-free, home-made if you have it)
  • 1 tbsp raw local honey
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (again, HFCS-free)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2″ to 3/4″ florets
  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter (not pictured)

Melt the butter in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat.  Brown the beef in the butter until it is mostly cooked.  Add in the onion and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are tender.  Combine the ketchup with all of the seasonings, then add that to the pan and stir everything to mix well.  Finally, add the 1-1/2 cups water over top and raise the temperature to bring to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, cover and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer (at this point, you could instead transfer the whole thing to a crock pot on low instead of keeping it on the stove top in the sauté pan).

Continue to simmer for about 2 to 2-1/2 hours (a bit longer in a crock pot), until the beef pieces are tender enough to break apart with a fork.  When the beef is done, get the cauliflower cut up and prepped into a steamer basket in a saucepan with lid.  Steam it until it is done (about 10 minutes).  While you wait for the cauliflower to cook, combine your arrowroot and 1/4 cup cold water to fully dissolve and then add to the goulash.  Raise the heat while stirring constantly until the goulash just returns to a boil, then turn off the heat and keep stirring for another minute or two to thicken.

To serve, place 1/2 cup or so of cooked cauliflower in a bowl.  Top with a healthy serving of the stewed beef, and then spoon a generous helping of sauce over the top.  Accompany it with some “cold” slaw (we still need to post our recipe for that), and maybe a little champagne if you want the whole experience…although I think merlot might be a better pairing myself.

Kilroy was here - another of Grandpa Don's trademarks

3 thoughts on “Hungarian Goulash

  1. I sure miss that guy. He would have loved all of his great grandkids. He would have had to have extra jelly beans and licorice in his pockets for them. The Tang in the recipe for the cole slaw was like Miracle Whip today. Sometimes that is all he used for salad dressing on his salad. Of course back then he always mixed it in. None of that ‘on the side’ stuff. We all ate the same.

  2. He used “Tang”, vinegar and sugar and it makes a great “cold” slaw dressing.
    I miss that guy everyday. You guys keep him alive in all your postings of him. Although,
    I am sure no one misses him more than his gal.

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