Goulash is one of those dishes I had so often growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country that sometimes I forget how awesome of a name that is for food… Gooo-lahwsh. 😀 Kinda sounds how it is: thin-brothed with big bits of yummy.
Anyway, just like the gravy-based soup we know as chicken pot pie, the PA Dutch have a knack for taking anything even close to nutritious and turning it into a pile of salt and starch. Goulash is typically a pepper and tomato-based dish with sweet corn and some sort of meat, making it ideal for late summer when there are so many peppers of all colors and sizes and my tomato plants seem to lob a new batch of fruit at me each morning.
But, and I swear this is the honest truth, the following is an example of a typical PA Dutch Goulash recipe:
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion, diced (maybe some minced garlic)
- 1 red or green pepper, diced
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- Salt and pepper
Ok, no way. With our area’s reputable sweet corn, beautiful displays of purple, white, and yellow sweet peppers, and a strong tradition of award-winning heirloom tomatoes, that’s just plain unacceptable!!
Below is a vegetarian version of my attempt to bring pride back to our food. This is a really amazing recipe, that’s also super easy because it’s all in the slow-cooker, and I know I hope this with all of my recipes, but I shamelessly ask that seriously you’ve got to try this one!!! If you don’t like the veg version, add a cut of beef or pork shoulder to the veggies in the slow cooker, and keep in mind, this makes a ton of food, so you can always cut the recipe in half too. Also, this dish is traditionally served with elbow macaroni. I’m using a gluten-free, brown rice fusilli because I much prefer it with pasta over rice (my tummy just doesn’t like the gluten).
Slow Cooker Goulash:
- Large slow cooker, knife, cutting board, measuring spoons
- 5 large sweet peppers of varying colors, cut into large strips
- 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 large or 2 small jalapenos, seeded and dices (keep the seeds if you like heat)
- 6 whole ears of corn
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed and halved (optional, but I’m happy to see the first green beans back in season, so why not? Green beans are delicious.)
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 medium onions, sliced into half-moons
- 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped (dried works too)
- The leaves of a small bunch of oregano (dried works too)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 heaping Tbsp of smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
- 5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni or other pasta
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the corn off the cob into the cold slow cooker. Keep the empty cobs in the slow cooker on the bottom. Add all of the vegetables, the seasonings, the vinegar, and the vegetable stock to the slow cooker.
- Cook on high 2-3 hours or on low 6-7 hours. Give it a stir half-way through to make sure all of the spices and peppers can get soft in the liquid.
- In the last 30 mins, remove the corn cobs and bay leaves. Stir in the TVP. Re-season as needed. **Personally, I don’t like how mushy pasta gets when you cook it in a crock pot. If you’re like me, boil the pasta in lightly salted water and then just top with the veggies. If you like super soft pasta, throw it in in the last half hour with the TVP.