Thursday, March 1, 2018

Goulash with Rotini and Ground Beef, American Style


Historical origins place Hungarian Goulash  as early as the 9th Century Medieval times in Hungary and is popular throughout Central Europe. The word history suggests that Goulash was one of necessity created by the herdsman and shepards, using meat that usually had to be dried and stored in sacks made from sheep's stomachs.  Paprika came into the picture around the 16th century, by way of the Old World Spice Route.  Potatoes appeared after the 16th as well.  The long distances and scarcity of food encouraged the herdsmen to stretch their proteins by making stews and the like to survive and feed their families,'s utilizing everything, including the protective padding from an animal's foot!
A proper goulash consists of several givens; paprika, spices, veggies (especially potatoes) and dried or stew meat.  Depending on region and time of year, the protein also included venison and boar. White wine and vinegar were also additions to the original.
  There are many variations to the dish as represented by the culture doing the cooking.  The German version includes wine, stock, potatoes, etc.. and some cultures like Croatia, Slovakia, Austria and Czechoslovakia, use bell peppers, carrots, mutton, bacon, others use sour cream and lemon juice, while others use dumplings, heavy cream and Sauerkraut.
American Goulash has humble beginnings around 1914, as an affordable way to feed one's family in a one-pot meal, consisting of elbow macaroni, beef or cubed steak, tomatoes and tomato puree.  Another version of this recipe, also considered goulash is called slumgullion, featuring beef, peppers, onions, celery, corn and pasta, to name a few. This unappealing namesake is said to have taken root around the California Gold Rush, with it's  moniker coined by the gold miners.


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