This recipe was inspired by a can of ‘meat’ I was given. ‘Meat?’ 20160412_144722you say. Yes, a quart jar simply labeled ‘meat.’ Now there is an explanation for this. My mother loves to can foods; jelly, vegetables, fruit, fish… and last year they decided to can some moose. It turned out GREAT! So why label it ‘meat’ instead of ‘moose?’ Well there are a few people in this world who feel that our regular neighborhood visitor, The Moose, is more closely related to our not-so-commonly eaten friend, The Horse, than he is to the totally acceptably eaten buddy, Mr. Caribou. Yes, I know. These aren’t my rules. I’ve actually eaten horse. (and moose, and caribou, and deer, and elk, and buffalo, and sheep, and lamb, and goat, rabbit, and bear, and walrus, and whale… I think that covers all the mammals I’ve eaten. Well, of-course cow and pig.) Anyway, out of respect for certain individuals in our home, *Mr. Dad,* who might not be so inclined to eat something that he knows might have been made from or with moose meat we simply label everything a ‘meat’… otherwise it’s all, ‘caribou.’

This reminds me of another family story on the opposite end of the spectrum. When my cousins and I were growing up in rural Alaska of-course we ate a lot of game meat. A problem arose when my youngest cousin was around 4. When asked, “What are we having for dinner?” her dad replied, “Moose,” to which she broke down into tears sobbing. It didn’t take much investigating to realize that the little lady had been confused about the difference between our long legged friend, The Moose, and their short legged slobbery friend named Moose, who likes to bark a lot. From then on out everything the family ate was ‘chicken;’ white meat or dark. It was always funny to hear the large family very quickly. “Shh! Shh!” or “Blah, Blah, Nah, Nah, Nah!” over a guests words when they might excitedly have noticed that moose was on the menu for dinner, “IT’S CHICKEN!” they all over command, with winks, head nods, and subtle glances toward the young cousin.

Anyway, so what does that have to do with my recipe? It’s simply where I started in trying to create a new meal. For myself I used canned ‘meat.’ For yourself? I suggest slow stewed beef or pot-roast; perhaps left-overs.

Since my ‘meat’ was already cooked I needed to go about bringing it into the dish differently. In reality I can simply trow it on the top. Thinking along that line I knew I wanted a sauce and starch. Perhaps a pasta. *Rolling Eyes* Since everyone knows that red sauce goes with red ‘meat,’  I reluctantly direct my thoughts to the tomato based isle of ingredients in my head. (Insert a close-up of a wobbly shopping cart wheel, here.)


Walrus definitely does NOT trust me.

But, “I DON’T WANT TO MAKE BORING TOMATO SAUCE!!!!!!!” (Insert image of myself as an angry 3 year old with pig-tails having a tantrum, here.)

This one is better because he’s actually on the tomato sauce isle!

And I like this one because it’s in front of Obama. That’s right, you can’t even command the respect over 2 year-olds.

Mostly I wanted to see how many windows you were willing to open for the sake of my entertainment.

*Checks Time* “Oh Crap!” (two minutes until lunch)
*Runs to back door where Andrew is watching the kids in the backyard*
“Good news! I’ve written 550 words on a new post! Bad news, I haven’t really mentioned anything about the recipe yet. Good news, we’re having quesadillas for lunch! Bad news, I haven’t started them yet.”
“Is that going to be about the moose?”
“It’s ‘meat.'” …

Lunch disaster narrowly avoided. Moving on. What I’m wanting to do is make a red sauce, tomato based, but I want to really embolden it up with a depth of flavors so it doesn’t just end up a funky take on spaghetti. I’ve decided to play around with roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, garlic, and basil in addition to the base of tomato, or crushed tomato in this case. As you may know from previous posts one of my favorite sauces is Harissa. The tomato and red pepper really work well together and with the addition of V8, instead of water or broth, I was able to come up with an AMAZING new red sauce with lots of depth and flavor notes….

But this is where you may become annoyed with me. I don’t end up using it with the ‘meat’ this time.

3 Hungarian Herdsmen in traditional clothing

Hungarian Herdsmen

I’m sorry to have dragged you through all this. As you can imagine I, too, was quite disappointed in having gone through all of the above only to find myself basically starting completely over again in a quest to find the perfect combination of flavors to go with ‘meat.’

But don’t lose heart yet! I have decided on [store bought] gnocchi as the starch to go with ‘meat.’

Informed of my conundrum my mother suggested stroganoff or goulash. “Goulash? Isn’t that any dish you make with a bunch of your random left-overs? Another word for ‘whatcha-macall-it’ dinner?”

“Au con·traire!” Or should I say “éppen ellenkezőleg!” With a little research I discover that goulash is a type of meat dating way back in Hungarian herding tradition, in which ‘meat’ was slow cooked with seasoning in a big pot, left to dry in the sun and stored in dried sheep bladder bags. This is not unlike


today’s beef jerky… well, minus the sheep bladder. This flavorful meat needed only to be added to a pot of water to make a meal while out herding long distances. This was indeed gulyáshús; ‘herdsmen meat.’

Székely Flag

Székely Pride!

The basic recipe is literally “a soup or stew of ‘meat,’ and vegetables; seasoned with paprika and other spices.”*  “This is PERFECT for my ‘meat!’ ”

What I loved learning most were the various ingredients which were added/excluded based on the area a family was from. Now day20160413_182938s beef, veal, pork, or lamb, and sometimes mutton are choices of meat, with other ingredients including potatoes, bell pepper, onion, other root vegetables like carrot and parsley root… tomato is a modern ingredient, as it was not a native fruit to any of the historic areas. The seasonings vary as well with caraway being common, and wine, chili, bay leaf, thyme, or garlic. Now this being said I will NOT be using caraway seed. That is in accordance of rule #677: “Andrew does not like caraway.”

You know, I don’t know why I’m even bothering with rule #677 or #876, since we already know that our ‘meat’ will eliminate him from eating this dish. I guess I figured I could atleast make a sauce he would like (or even try) if I ‘played along.’

Long story short… or long in this case at 1255 words so far, I am VERY happy with the goulash recipe I pulled together! The use of red bell pepper (instead of green) and caramelized onions made the broth nice and subtly sweet which the children loved, asking for more and more and more! If I were making it for adults I might be inclined to add some hot sausage.

And in-case you wonder why it doesn’t show in the pictures, although my original recipe calls for sour cream and artichoke heart, on the night that I made this dinner I was in a hurry and totally forgot to add them at the end. I guess this goes to show that there is total flexibility in serving goulash!


Leave me a comment and let me know what you think, if you tried this or any other recipes we’ve shared, and how many of my extra links you succumbed to. *Wink*Wink* I’m quite curious!

‘Meat’ Goulash



  • 2 pounds cubed ‘meat’ – beef or game, and hot sausage if desired
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 medium onion, julienne
  • 1/2 red pepper, julienne
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, julienne
  • 3 T sour cream


  1. Add the meat, stock, water, paprika, garlic, and wine to a 6 qt pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. (20 minutes is ‘enough’ but 1 hour will make your meat really tender.)
  2. After this Saute the onions and red peppers in a frying pan with a couple table spoons of oil, over medium high, until the onions are golden and caramelized. Add to the soup along with the artichoke hearts.
  3. Stir in the sour cream when the soup is finish.
  4. Serve with crunchy baguette, garlic bread, gnocchi, potatoes, dumplings, or pasta

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