Back To Basics – Goulash

Made even better when I discovered my grandmother's secret ingredient.

When I was a kid, my family and I would head up to my grandparents' house in Vermont for holidays and vacations. We loved it up there. All nine grandchildren (always hungry of course) would descend upon the big farmhouse and immediately gobble up everything my grandmother served. We loved her and her cooking.

One of our favorite dishes was her “goulash” (also known as American Chop Suey in my husband’s family). It sure tasted good after a day of skiing or snowmobiling.

As is seen so often when trying to replicate a dish your grandmother made, it’s never quite right. This happened to me with the goulash for years until one time I made it I also served green salad with Italian dressing on the same plate. All of a sudden I was back in my grandparent’s dining room—it was the same taste!  My grandmother’s secret ingredient—red wine vinegar! 

Try this hearty, filling, comfort food next time you have a craving for good old Yankee basics.

Grandmother Rose’s Goulash

Serves 6 (triple for the big family get-togethers)

1 lb. of elbow macaroni, cooked al dente

1 T olive oil

1 lb. of lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2  28 oz cans of diced tomatoes with juice, undrained

2 T red wine vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

sprinkle of oregano

freshly ground pepper, to taste

In large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add ground beef, onion, and green pepper. Sauté until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef with a wooden spoon. Drain any excess oil if necessary. Add remaining ingredients (including noodles) and allow to simmer gently for 10 to 20 minutes until flavors blend.

Editor's note: This article, part of Clinton Patch editor Fay Abrahamsson's "In the Kitchen with Fay" column, originally was published by Clinton Patch.


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