Hungary for Goulash!
Today it has been two years since my Opa died. He was a nomadic Mennonite man that was born in the Ukraine, and spent time in different parts of Europe before heading to South America after World War II. In Paraguay he met my grandmother, in Brazil they had my mother, and in 1958 they immigrated to Canada. He and my Oma helped raise me from a young age.
Growing up with my O-Parents in the house meant we ate a lot of food from the Old World. One of the dishes my Oma made quite frequently was what she called “goulash” but what I have since learned was just a collection of leftovers served over noodles. I decided that as a BIG UP to the big fella, I’d tackle real goulash and see how it handles being veganised. (Ironically, in my attempt to make “real” goulash I think I still made a bastardised version that’s actually closer to Stroganoff but in the spirit of my grandmother I’m going to stubbornly call it goulash until everyone starts to believe it.)
So onwards and forwards to the great land of Goulashia!
Vegan Hungarian Goulash Serves 4
- 1 pkg (255g) Gardein Beefless Tips
- Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 medium onions, sliced and separated into rings
- 4 oz (just less than 2 cups) Cremini or Baby Bella mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced into quarters lengthwise
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup vegetable broth, divided
- ½ cup roasted red peppers, diced
- 2 tbsp paprika
- ½ cup vegan sour cream
- Broad noodles, buttered with Earth Balance (see note below)
- (½ cup water + 2 tbsp flour, mixed, if your gravy needs extra thickening)
Place the Beefless Tips in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Please recall that this is Mennonite cooking and don’t be stingy with the salt. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Make sure you coat the bottom of the pot. Place the Beefless Tips in a single layer in the pot and brown, stirring to ensure even browning.
Remove browned Tips into a bowl.
You should have prepped your veggies, but I’m sure you know this! Onion rings and mushrooms should be ready to go.
Reduce heat to medium or medium-low. To the “drippings” in the pot, add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. When heated, add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir to coat with oil.
Cover tightly with the pot lid to sweat the vegetables. Onions should be limp but not browned and the mushrooms should be releasing their liquid, about 10 minutes or so. Then add 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and stir to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the pot. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of broth, roasted red peppers, and paprika.
Add Beefless Tips back into the pot. Stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low or medium-low. Cover tightly and simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.
While your ‘lash simmers away, boil your pasta. Where I come from, goulash is served over egg noodles. Clearly you see the problem with this (and if you don’t…what? Vegan. No eggs). I went in search of a suitable substitute (I was basically just looking for any broad noodle at this point) and went with eggless Fettuccine.
To prevent your noodles from sticking, melt in an unhealthy dollop of Earth Balance margarine. Stop complaining and do it, it’s delicious.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, remove your goulash pot from heat after the half hour and allow simmering to cease.
Stir in sour cream until it is incorporated into the gravy.
At this point my gravy was still a bit thin, so I mixed 2 tbsp of flour into half a cup of water, returned the pot to a low heat, and added the flour mixture in to thicken it up a bit. If you’re happy with the consistency of your gravy, skip this.
Serve goulash over noodles. This recipe should give you four helpings.
Whether or not this is close to anything my grandfather ever ate, it was a fun way to honour his memory. And it was DELICIOUS! I have leftovers packed for supper at the booth tomorrow and am already looking forward to it. I have roots all over the world, and food is an extremely fun way to explore them. I think we’re going to have to veganise a tradition Swedish dish next (oh yes, I am 1/4 Swedish–I’m a mutt of the world).
Opa, I miss you. Thank you for being a fearless bad ass. I can only hope to be half the person you were. I’ll love you, always.