Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bear Goulash

Posted by Chris Beason | Saturday, March 5, 2011 | Category: , |

Let me just start by saying that this goulash does not have bear meat in it!  I was trying to decide what to call this recipe and my husband liked it so well that he said I should name it after him. So that's why it's called Bear Goulash.

When I think of Goulash, I think of pasta, meat, onions and tomatoes. It is actually a dish that was created by cattlemen in Hungary. They cooked onions in fat until they were light gold and then added paprika. The paprika had to be added after the pan was removed from the fire so that it didn't burn and create a bitter taste. Then they added chunks of meat and other ingredients and let it simmer.

Over the years it's been made with rice or potatoes instead of pasta and different types of meats have been used. There are tons of different versions of Goulash, but most are made up of just a few ingredients and quick to make. Like my version, it's a few things I already had in my cabinet and it turned out being quick and tasty!

A few things I always have in my cabinet are pasta, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Even if I don't have a dish in mind that needs these ingredients, when I go to the grocery store I always pick some up to have on hand. I don't normally have whipping cream, but I just happened to have some that I had bought to make homemade hot chocolate. You can substitute milk for the cream. The cream just makes the sauce a little richer and thicker.

Meat and Pasta:

16 oz. Elbow Macaroni
1 lb. Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey
1/2 medium-sized onion
16 oz. can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
4 tablespoons butter (NOT margarine)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz. can Basil, Oregano, Garlic Seasoned Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Water
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Parsley Flakes

Well, let's get started. First, fill up a big pot with water. Add about a tablespoon of oil and a few shakes of salt (about a teaspoon) to the water. I don't normally measure this out, but if you're just getting started it's probably a good idea so you'll know what it looks like so you can eyeball it in your later cooking adventures. The oil will keep the pasta from sticking together and the salt adds flavor and also it raises the boiling temperature of the water and makes the pasta cook faster and more thorough.

Put the pot on the stove and turn the burner on high. Once the water is boiling, add the macaroni. I used whole wheat Elbow Macaroni. If you have a box of macaroni and cheese you can use it and even add the cheese powder (after the macaroni is cooked and drained). You can substitute rice or potatoes for the pasta. You'll probably want to use about 2 cups of rice or 4 or 5 medium-sized potatoes.  If you use potatoes, rinse the potatoes, cut into chunks and add to the water.

While you're waiting for the water to boil, chop up half of a medium-sized onion. Put onion in a skillet with the ground turkey. Turn the burner on medium to medium-high. If the water for the macaroni hasn't already started boiling, it should be about to any minute. Once it does, add the macaroni to the water so it can cook while you're browning the meat.

Once the meat is brown and the onions are transparent, turn off the burner, drain the meat and onions and put it back in the skillet. Open a can of diced tomatoes and stir it into the skillet with the meat and onions.

Boil the macaroni (or potatoes) until it is tender. It usually takes about 10 to 12 minutes. Potatoes take a little longer, usually about 15 to 20 minutes. They're done when you can easily poke them with a fork. I'm sure you've heard the saying "stick a fork in me I'm done". To test macaroni, use a spoon to scoop a noodle out of the water, carefully run it under cold water and taste it. You don't want to overcook pasta or potatoes. You could still use the potatoes, but the pasta would be mushy mess.  Once the macaroni is done, drain it by pouring it into a colander in the sink.

Once, the macaroni is completely drained, pour the macaroni back into the pot. Pour the meat, onions and tomato into the pot.

Put the butter and whipping cream in a small pan.  Turn the burner on medium to medium-high and stir until the butter is melted. You do not want to walk away from the stove while the butter and cream is cooking because it will melt quickly and will boil over even quicker. A watched pot never boils, but an unwatched one will boil over in a second! Once the butter is melted, add the Parmesan Cheese. Turn the burner on medium-low to medium and stir until the Parmesan is melted.

Turn off the burner and pour the cheese into the pot with the macaroni, meat, tomatoes and onion. Stir everything up in the pot until it's evenly combined.

Using the same small pan, pour in the tomato sauce and whipping cream. In a small bowl, mix up the cold water and the cornstarch. Make sure you use cold water or the cornstarch will be lumpy. Put the bowl beside your pan. Turn the burner on medium to heat the tomato sauce and whipping cream. When the sauce starts to bubble, pour in the water and cornstarch and stir until it thickens. Once it thickens, turn off the burner and stir in the parsley flakes. Pour the sauce on top of the macaroni mixture.

You can serve this with garlic bread and green beans and have a complete meal. If you use canned green beans, cut the half of the onion you didn't use in half and put it in the pan with the green beans. Put a lid on the pan and cook the green beans on medium to medium-high for about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn the heat off and throw away the onion. I think you'll be surprised at the flavor that the onion gives plain canned green beans!

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