Every family makes this dish a little differently except for my family. I never tasted Goulash until I was an adult because my mother never made it. It would have been a strange and foreign dish to serve around our dinner table. My father would have wondered what had happened to the potatoes and vegetables. The closest thing we ever had to Goulash was Macaroni and Cheese and that was often served with fried potatoes. Of course, as I grew older, I heard other kids mention they'd had Goulash for dinner or supper which always left me wondering what they were talking about. By that time, I had a keen interest in food and knew they couldn't be talking about the classic Hungarian Goulash as I had read the recipes and probably had seen it made on TV.
Skip ahead a few years when I was a young wife and mother. I had, by then, become acquainted with the dish we Newfoundlanders call Goulash--a tasty macaroni and ground beef concoction held together with a tomato soup sauce. It was a convenient and quick meal to make and it seemed as if everyone liked it. I had made it a few times but because I'm not too fond of tomato soup I would use tomato sauce or a pasta sauce in place of the soup and everyone seemed to like that as well.
One particular day I had invited friends of ours to dinner. They had three small children and were also fostering two little school-aged sisters. As we often shared meals together I knew the tastes of the family but didn't have a clue what the two little foster sisters would like to eat. I wracked my brains for a dish I thought they'd enjoy and finally settled on goulash. Just about everyone liked goulash and I was sure these little girls would enjoy something familiar in an unfamiliar setting. So I set about making the most delicious and extraordinary goulash anyone had ever had with lots of vegetables and meat, swimming in the best sauce money could buy and topped with copious amounts of cheese. It was a huge dish because it would be serving 10 people. Oh, yes, it was the pièce de résistance, the choicest of the choice, a masterpiece worthy of the great world chefs. When my guests were seated and grace was said I brought the large and heavy dish of goulash to the table and everyone started to serve themselves from the dishes that were set before them--everyone except the two little girls. Thinking they were shy, I encouraged them to eat the goulash as well as the other food on the table. The oldest sister just looked at me and said, "Goulash, that's not goulash!" I was somewhat taken back by that declaration but I assured her it was goulash. But she replied telling me goulash didn't look like that. So, of course, I wanted to know what her goulash was like and she told me it was macaroni and tomato soup and none of that other stuff.
I remember that dinner every time I make goulash and it makes me smile. The two little girls managed to fill up on bread and dessert and only picked out a few pieces of macaroni from "the other stuff". I couldn't imagine anyone eating macaroni and tomato soup and liking it but over the years I've run across several children who lick their lips in anticipation of such a meal.
But I must tell you that not only Newfoundlanders enjoy eating this tasty repast. Just a few years ago I was cooking for Camp Meeting and made this for dinner. One of the diners (from the US) going through line almost jumped through the glass when he saw what being served. "American Chop Suey!" he exclaimed. "I love that stuff and I haven't had it in years!" Well, who was I to argue the point. I just smiled and said I'd never heard it called that before. As Mr. Shakespeare would say, "...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Here's a somewhat trimmed down size recipe of the goulash I served on that day so many years ago. I still prefer tomato sauce to the tomato soup but be my guest to use what you like. I should not be so bold to tell you what goulash to like.
Newfoundland Goulash--My Way
1½ cups dry elbow macaroni
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½-1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced peppers
2 cups sliced mushrooms or 1 can sliced mushroom, drained
1½ cups veggie burger
1 can tomato sauce or soup
1 cup grated cheese, optional
Cook macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse macaroni and leave in strainer while cooking the vegetables.
In the cooking pot, add the vegetable oil, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Sauté until tender crisp. Add the veggie burger and heat through. (If using real hamburger meat, cook it first and then add the vegetables.) Return cooked macaroni to pot and mix well with the vegetable mixture. Pour on the tomato sauce or soup. Mix well and heat through. If desired, serve with grated cheese.
The Goulash is ready to eat as is, but I like to place the mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle the top with cheese and bake at 350 dgrees until the goulash is hot through and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. This is particularly good if you have to make the dish ahead of time.
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse and let drain while cooking the vegetables.
I used coloured peppers today but any colour will do for this dish.
Today's goulash is using canned mushrooms.
I didn't have the energy to get dressed and go to the store to buy fresh.
Sauté the vegetables in the oil until tender crisp. Add the veggie burger. I like to use Yves brand because it is readily available and tastes good as well. Veggie burger doesn't have to be cooked like ground beef and can be added to the vegetables and heated through.
This is a large can of tomato sauce. I used about 2/3 of the can because I like lots of sauce.
Add the drained macaroni and tomato sauce or soup to the vegetables. Heat through before serving. The Goulash is ready to serve just as it is in this picture but I like to sprinkle a little cheese on each serving.
If you'd like to make the goulash early in the day, place the mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese over top. About half an hour before serving, bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the goulash is heated through.
Newfoundland Goulash served with salad and garlic bread.
A convenient and thrifty dinner everyone will like.