Chef John's American Goulash

4.8
(275)

One of my all-time favorite comfort food meals growing up was the beef goulash they served in my school cafeteria alongside a slice of buttered white bread and a carton of milk. Little did I know that it wasn't really goulash, but an Americanized version, invented to stretch a small amount of beef into enough food for a not-so-small family. This is one of those very simple dishes that does not taste simple--perfect for your weeknight dinner rotation.

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Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Additional Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 quart chicken broth

  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni

  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

  • 1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese (Optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ground beef. Cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until browned, about 5 minutes. Cook and stir until liquid is evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves.

  2. Cook and stir until flavors come together, about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and marinara sauce. Rinse out the jar with 1 cup water and pour into the pot. Add soy sauce, stir, and bring soup to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer to let flavors intensify, about 30 minutes.

  3. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup to a simmer. Add macaroni; simmer, stirring occasionally, until just barely tender, about 12 minutes. Check for doneness after 10 minutes.

  4. Remove goulash from heat. Discard bay leaves; stir in parsley and Cheddar cheese. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Taste and season as desired.

Chef's Notes:

Make your own Italian herb mix with any desired blend of oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, and basil.

Feel free to swap water for chicken broth.

You can also add beans to turn this into an excellent pasta fazool.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

336 Calories
17g Fat
25g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 336
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Sodium 1169mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 452mg 10%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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