Monday, October 1, 2012

One Pot American Chop Suey (Goulash)

I grew up eating goulash. Not the Hungarian style goulash that I've shared with you HERE. I'm talking about the dish that most New Englanders call American Chop Suey. So, where did the name come from? Well, according to Wikipedia, it got the name because it's "often a haphazard hodgepodge of meat and vegetables". OK. Sounds plausible to me. It's also called Macaroni and Beef, Beefy Mac and Hamburger Casserole in other areas of the country.

Regardless of what you call it in your neck of the woods, Goulash is a dish that transcends regional culinary boundaries and even more important, considering the skyrocketing cost of groceries these days, an economical and delicious way to feed the family a hearty, filling and most of all, delicious meal for virtually pennies a serving.

If you do a web search, you'll find that there are as many recipes for this dish as there are home cooks serving it to their families. But the basic ingredients are pretty much the same across the board. Ground beef, tomatoes, macaroni, onion and green bell pepper. Some cooks use tomato sauce, paste or puree and others use whole or diced canned tomatoes.  Some use onions, but not green peppers and some use additional veggies, different seasonings and/or toppings. It can be cooked on the stove top, or in a crockpot and it can be baked in the oven. I prepare it pretty much the way my mother made it, but I do one major thing that she didn't.

I cook it all in one pot. Yup. No more filling a huge pot with water and waiting for that water to boil. No more waiting for the pasta to be cooked just right and then practically melting your face off when pouring it into a colander to drain. And... That also means that there are fewer dishes to wash.

You're welcome.

American Chop Suey (Goulash)
  • 1&1/2 Lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 28oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Med Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced (I used green and red)
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbls Vegetable or Light Olive Oil
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Water or Beef Broth
  • 1 Lb Elbow Macaroni

In a large dutch oven or stockpot, drizzle in the vegetable or light olive oil and cook the onions, bell pepper and garlic over medium heat until they are just getting soft. Season with the salt pepper, oregano, basil, onion and garlic powders. I don't measure these but I probably use about a teaspoon of each.

Add the ground beef to the pot and turn the heat up a little bit. (about medium high) Cook the beef until it's lightly browned, breaking it up with a spatula or fork as it cooks. I sprinkle in a little bit more of the seasonings at this point, too. You want this well seasoned because you're going to be adding the extra water or broth to cook the pasta.

When the beef is fully cooked, add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and one full can of water or beef broth. (the 28oz can) Stir well to combine and allow it to simmer on medium-low for about 8 to 10 minutes, uncovered.

Add the box of elbow macaroni and if needed, another (small) can of water/broth. You want the liquid in the pot to just cover the macaroni once it's been stirred in.

If you like your goulash to be a little juicy, use only 2/3 of the box.

Partially cover the pot and simmer on medium-low heat for about 8 to 12 minutes. (depends on how much macaroni you're using) I give it a good stir about halfway through. Check it at 8 minutes, if you prefer your macaroni to be more al dente.

I usually make a big tossed green salad and slice up some crusty Italian bread to sop up all of that tomato-y, herb-y, onion-y goodness.

Hubbers likes grated parm on his (lots of hot sauce) and if he's not in a cheesy mood, he'll top it with a little sour cream. I use a little bit of shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack, if I happen to have any in the fridge.



Wow! My Chicken Enchilada Lasagna was featured this week at Addicted To Recipes!

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  1. I love goulash! I've never cooked the pasta in the pot because I'm afraid it will be too starchy. That doesn't happen?

    1. Hi Jill! Nope... not at all. I was afraid to do it this way at first, for that very same reason. (a certain someone is very particular about his pasta. lol) I think the key to keeping it from getting starchy is 1) Simmering, not boiling it, once the macaroni is added. 2) I also think the little bit of oil used for softening the onions, etc. and the small amount of grease left from browning the meat, keeps the starch from leaching out of the macaroni. 3) Some might disagree with me, but I think the slightly more expensive pasta helps too, so I stock up when it's on sale.

  2. Wow this look so tasty,I need to try this :) thanks again for linking up....

  3. ~~~~Omgosh,
    talk about fabulous comfort food. DEeelish.
    can you hear my tummy growling from MN? X

  4. Mary,
    I'd love a bowl right about now! This looks delicious and I'm starving, lol. Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful week.


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