Friday, August 16, 2019

American Goulash – Just Like the Non-Hungarian Lunch Lady Used to Make

One of my all-time favorite comfort food meals growing up was the beef goulash served in my school cafeteria, which came with a slice of buttered white bread, and an ice-cold carton of milk. Little did I know that it wasn’t really goulash, but an Americanized version, invented, I’m guessing, to stretch a small amount of beef into enough food for a not so small family.

Real goulash is like a beef stew, and I’m pretty proud of this version we posted a while back, but while it’s a wonderful recipe in its own right, it just doesn’t hold the same place in my heart as this version. So, you can imagine my disappointment the first time I ordered beef goulash, and actually got beef goulash. Anyway, live and learn.

Not much can go wrong here, as long as you don’t under-cook, or horribly over-cook the macaroni. So, set your timer for 10 minutes, and start checking. We want the pasta very tender, but not falling apart. By the way, this goes by many names, including American Chop Suey, Chili Mac, Johnny Marzetti, and my personal favorite, Slumgullion. No matter what you call this, I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 pounds ground beef
4 cloves garlic minced
2 generous teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne to taste
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs (blend of oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, parley, basil)
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 quart chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (24-ounce) jar prepared marinara sauce, rinsed with 1 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 rounded cups elbow macaroni
1 packed cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Freshly chopped Italian parsley
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47 comments:

rtwarman said...

In the video you mentioned beans. Would you mind expanding on what kind and how to add it in?

John Wilson said...

We had something very similar in my school cafeteria - love this! You mention a can of beans - what kind of beans would you use?

nightsmusic said...

My husband would probably love this version too. I make mine with bulk breakfast sausage and a few other changes. But what I wanted to comment on is, once the macaroni is just al dente, I give it a last stir, put the lid on and turn off the heat. Then I let it sit for about ten minutes and the macaroni is perfect every time. I don't like chewy or mushy pasta and this works for me. ymmv however.

nightsmusic said...

I just rewatched it, still with the sound off and this time, the closed captions came up. I missed where you said to turn off the heat the first time and the closed captions didn't come on for some reason. I have trouble at times with YouTube. So I apologize for that. You can delete both of my comments or not approve them if you'd like. That's fine. Sorry.

Neil said...

Hello Chef John,
I must have grown up with the same lunch room ladies. I've eaten this dish by the scoopful. There were two names for it in my Minnesota background... goulash of course, but also "funeral hot dish". It had a very frugal makeup in that second setting. But the church ladies would still accompany it with buttered white bread.

Thanks for this recipe and your many others. Best regards.

Unknown said...

CJ - what kind of beans do you like to add for your fazool variation?

foodrev said...

I love "Mom's" goulash. I used to ask mom to make me galoshes! I was an unobservant child.

Unknown said...

What would be a substitution for the Mariana?

Allison said...

Fabulous!! I've been looking for this. Thank you. P.s. love your work.

Allison said...

Fabulous! Love your work.

Mark said...

We always put in some diced up bell peppers.

Barb said...

I've been making this for about 50 years and this has always been in my regular rotation, usually every 2-3 weeks. It's classic comfort food. I'd never added paprika or cayenne, or soy sauce, for that matter! Often, I do add bell peppers though! My mother called this American Chop Suey... I just call it Pasta. My husband is always surprised by WHICH pasta I make since I call it ALL pasta. :) The last time I made this I DID put in a couple of shakes of Cayenne - which in 50 years of cooking I never had, so I'm blaming you for that! haha! My husband took a big old mouthful and said. "It's kinda spicy"... and then he ate every bite, finishing off by sopping up all of the sauce with his bread. I said. "I thought you said it was too spicy"... and then he smacked his lips and smiled.

Unknown said...

Chef John,
One: this looks so amazing, scrapping my beef stew and having this instead! Two: would you consider creating a Discord? It's an app for chatting, and you can make a public one that everyone can chat in and discuss creating food, have questions answered (not only by you, but also by fellow fans of your channel.) just a thought :)

Sharon said...

Use the trinity instead of a whole diced onion, subtract a cop of dried macaroni and replace with a can of kidney beans and use beef broth instead of chicken broth and you have pasta e fagioli.

Rob said...

Thank you for all the food ideas. In the past week, I made the enchiladas, the galette, and am going to be making this goulash tonight. I've made other recipes, like the coq au vin, too. I do the cooking in my house and find it hard to keep food both interesting and not too exotic for the kids in the house.

FSB said...

A "flatula"? I thought that was the medical term for too many beans.

Shelly said...

We enjoyed every bite! Reminds of school days but 100 times better. Thanks for the great recipes. We enjoy ALL of your videos. I added pictures of my final result to my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shellyrmiller

Billy B said...

Where is the rest of the recipe? I don't see the instructions.

Billy B said...

Where is the rest of the recipe? I don't see the instructions.

Westralian said...

Hi Chef,

If I wanted to replace the pasta with a bean medley (red, white, black etc), would you advise simply putting them in at the same time as the pasta would go in? Just trying to eat less pasta *sob*

Unknown said...

Can this be made with minced chicken? For people who can't eat beef

LGriffin said...

I remember you saying in the video that adding a can of beans to this makes for a good addition to the recipe. Any suggestions for the type of bean or when to add them to the cooking process?

Thanks a bunch!

countrygal1967 said...

Chef you never cease to amaze me! My Grandmother used to make this, can I share her recipe with you? 1 lb. Ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
¼ Cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2-15 oz cans stewed tomatoes
8 oz sauce
Lawry's seasoning salt and pepper
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Cup dried elbow macaroni
1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
BUT I'M GOING TO TRY YOURS AND SEE! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR RECIPES!!!!! YOU ROCK!!

becca said...

My parents always called this beefaroni!

DL Warner said...

Hi, do you know how long this might keep in the fridge? Or, can the recipe be halved? We don't have that big a family, but I really want to make this dish.

RR said...

Cooked it tonight for supper and my 3 boys cleaned their plates. Nice job Chef! I wish I had you school cafeteria growing up.

Kevin J.S. said...

I just cooked this and it tastes wonderful. Getting all the moisture to evaporate when cooking the meat took quite some time, maybe 30 or more minutes, but the end result was really tiny and tender bits of meat. The seasoning worked out really well too. I did require more elbow pasta than the ingredients list mentioned but it all worked out wonderfully. Thanks Chef John for another keeper.

Unknown said...

Is it me or did I see a bay leaf in there towards the end. How/when did that little guy get in there?

Judy said...

I'm very much looking forward to this! But wouldn't it make more sense to use beef broth than chicken broth, given that we're using beef as the protein?

Unknown said...

I made this tonight and it is great comfort food! Delicious, complex flavors and easy to boot. I like spicy and next time I might add a little chipotle powder. Thanks for the recipe, Chef!

Unknown said...

I can't believe how good this is!
I threw a bell pepper in it and 1lb of hot Italian sausage with a lb of ground beef and... wow. I was so busy in the kitchen that I forgot to ad the sweet peppers I had planned to put in. Oh well, next time!

Thank you so much Chef John, it really is a lot of fun cooking with you.

Norbert said...

As a hungarian I find this recipe to be disturbing but highly intriguing

Unknown said...

Hey Chef John! Could I add Brown rice instead of pasta? Less rice? Also Worcestershire instead of soy? Cheers! 🙂

AG said...

Hi, a big thank you, just finished eating this and everyone has a happy belly.
Now, I made too much, so I'm asking, can the leftovers be kept in the fridge?, for how long? I'm also thinking of using the leftovers to make lasagna?
Cheesee Cheers
AG.

Jaymes S. Alexander-Cole, Jr. said...

Will you be posting this recipe on your Allrecipes profile?

Jaymes S. Alexander-Cole, Jr. said...

Will you be posting this recipe on your Allrecipes profile?

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John. Thank you for the fun and informative videos/blog posts. Are you allowed to share...what is your jarred marinara of choice? Any preferences?

Unknown said...

I made this last night for my wife and I... So good!

We had everything on hand already.
Very simple in a one-pot Foodi. An instant pot would work well too.

Thank you Chef John! Every recipe of yours we try, we love.
Your karma account must be overflowing.

Angela said...

Do you think I can half this recipe? Would it turn out okay?

Unknown said...

The lunch ladies at my school would put the goulash into a huge deep baking pan and smother the top with government surplus cheddar cheese baking the whole pan into crusty, gooey deliciousness. Bread and butter and canned pears to round out a favorite meal. Thanks for the memories!

dmk said...

This is very similar to a dish my husband has been making for the past 40 years. Since I had no lunch ladies for most of my schooling, I thought he had invented it. He also adds a red bell and a poblano. He will make it tonight with your "secret ingredient". Score for me not to have to cook tonight!

Danbs1217 said...

Hmmm. Grew up with meal stretchers. Grown up version and I added peppers from the garden. Yummmm.

Greg said...

What kind of beans would you recommend adding to this dish?

DL Warner said...

I couple of days. I made the dish on Monday. There wasn't any left after a couple of days, The dish reheated beautifully and may have tasted better as leftovers.

Thank you, chef John. This was a real winner!

victoria said...

I made this today! It was great!

Timothy said...

Parley? What does the pirate code have to do with this? :P
In all seriousness I made this tonight and it was delicious! Another fantastic recipe, your one pots always get made and I hope to see more of them

KathleenM said...

Making this right now. All coming together well.
Our lunch ladies did not use cayenne ;)