My mother’s family is Bohemian. My great-aunt Mary Skiba came over on the boat. We lived in a tight knit community where most of the neighbors shared our heritage. Growing up, I didn’t know that we ate different than others. When we went to church on Easter to have our food blessed, most people had the same items in their baskets. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the richness of the Easter European culture I was raised in. Haluski, pierogi, and Kolachy (prounounced hall-oosh-kee, pear-o-he and coe-lahtch-kee) were everyday words in my family.
We didn’t eat things from boxes. We cooked and we cooked a lot.
When I met my husband, worlds collided. He was from the south where grits, greens, and lots of spice and flavor lived. He thought my food was bland. Admittedly, it was.
He hated my mother’s goulash.
I didn’t know any better. But then I learned that of all the wonderful things my mother made, her goulash was indeed awful. She made it with ground beef, green pepper, pasta, and ketchup.
This recipe is dedicated to my husband who now likes my goulash and was very upset that I took it to the Goulash Cook Off in Czech Village. He was upset he only got one bowl and a bunch of strangers ate the rest. :). Much thanks goes to him for teaching me how to amp up my cooking, how to give my dishes depth, and how to use herbs and spices beyond salt and pepper.
Mich’s Gluten-Free Goulash
2-3lb beef roast (venison can also be used, or a mixture)
Paprika (a mixture of smoked and Hungarian)
Coconut oil or bacon grease (I used a little of both)
a few good sized yellow onions
a head of roasted garlic
a few roasted peppers, I used a green pepper, a red pepper, a couple of Hungarian peppers, and a couple jalapeno peppers
My secret ingredient: a pint of home-canned roasted New Mexico Hatch chile peppers (if you don’t have these, you can add a can of green chiles. The flavor won’t be exactly like mine, but it will still be good)
2 quarts of tomatoes (I used fresh from the garden, peeled tomatoes, but will substitute my homegrown and home-canned tomatoes when fresh aren’t available)
2 quarts beef stock (I make my own so store bought broth can be substituted, but again, it will change the flavor drastically)
Fresh ground caraway seeds
Pink Himalayan salt
Fresh ground black pepper
**note** I’ve linked to techniques like searing meat, roasting peppers, roasting g
arlic, etc… just in case you don’t know how to do those things. Don’t get intimidated, they’re all very simple, but take a little time. This makes a very large batch, enough to freeze for those days when you just can’t cook. Quart freezer bags work wonderful and take up very little space. Cut the recipe in half if you don’t want to freeze some for later.
1. Cube the roast, coat it in paprika, melt a couple tablespoons of oil, and sear the meat. (Searing means cooking it at a higher temperature and browning the outside, leaving the inside uncooked.) As the small batches are finished, put them into a stew pot.
3. Once all the meat is finished searing, in the same pan add a little more oil and caramelize the onions.
4. Put the onions into the stew pot and deglaze the meat/onion pan with some stock. Pour all of that yummy goodness into the stew pot.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients. I like caraway seeds, so I crush them in my mortar and pestle and I add a tablespoon or so. You might like less. Same with the marjoram.
6. Add the remaining ingredients to the stew pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer for a few hours (until the meat is tender and falling apart and does not need to be cut with a knife.)
This picture below shows the pot of goulash as well as a pot of potatoes boiling. I tried to make potato dumplins to eat with the goulash because a real serving of goulash needs some bread dumplings. But I’m gluten free, so I tried potatoes. They did not work well, I ended up smashing them and making fried potato pancakes. Now that was good. Today, I made another batch of goulash and ate it over brown rice. That was also satifying.