Well, no better time then the beginning of Fall, to make a big pot of something warm and yummy like Hungarian Goulash. It just seems to go hand in hand with cooler weather or the wishful thinking that summer is going to make its exit and Fall truly will begin to show its cooler temperatures and beautiful colors.
This recipe for Hungarian Goulash has a history with me, not so much for the dish that it is, but more so for the person that gave it to me. I will start from the very beginning. Back in 1979, when I was a freshman at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I had the privilege of meeting Joe and Karie Strosnider and their beautiful family. Joe, a Captain in the Air Force, was stationed at the Air Force Academy at that time and was part of the Cadet Sponsor Family Program. What that entailed was military families in the area “adopting” cadets while they were at the academy. They would invite cadets to their homes for meals, activities and some much needed down time. Joe picked me and several other cadets from his home state of Maryland and from the beginning made us all feel a part of his family. I went to their home for the first time in the Spring of my freshman year. It was Easter and they served a beautiful meal and gave me a chance to just relax and enjoy the comforts of being with a family again. After my first visit, I knew this was going to be the start of an amazing relationship with an incredible family. I soon began spending more and more time with them as I truly felt so comfortable around them and just adored their kids. Joe and Karie were so easy going and I was able to get away on the weekends to relax, sleep, play, sleep, unwind, oh and did I say sleep? Over the years I was able to bring many other cadets to the Strosnider’s home, so they too could get away to a sanctuary of comfort and quiet for a little while. I think for me, one of the things I also enjoyed about my visits to their home was getting back to a real live kitchen to do what I love…cooking and baking. That definitely was one of the things Karie and I had in common and became a connection between us. Karie is an amazing cook and loved to teach me and her children with her incredible recipes and talent. It was always so much fun and my classmates loved when I would return to the dorms with loads of homemade food.
Hungarian Goulash was one of the many recipes that Karie had collected over the years from friends and family during her own adventures and travels as a military spouse. She always made food that was simple to prepare, made with fresh ingredients, very family friendly, and always super delicious. Over the years, she and I have stayed in close touch and she continues to share her old and new favorite recipes with me.
I had the opportunity recently to visit her back in Colorado. Since she is downsizing a lot of her possessions, she offered me the chance to go through some of her beloved cookbooks and recipe boxes. It was a very special time. As we looked through the recipes, we talked and reminisced about times that we had cooked together and what some of our favorite recipes in the collection were. She also passed along some recipes from her family and told stories about how they were a “must have” at every family reunion and gathering. One of those recipes being Hungarian Goulash. A simple yet hearty dish, given to her from a dear friend, that not only warms the tummy but the soul also.
Now, looking back on my time with the Strosnider family, I see how my love of cooking was one of the main things that connected us so closely. As I have grown up and had a family of my own, I realized just how much Karie and I have in common as wives, mothers, military spouses and women who love the pure joys of taking care of our homes and families. As I had my own children and taught them how to cook, I often pictured Karie in her kitchen with her children, showing them the craft of being a great home cook. I look back and see how much cooking together and enjoying a meal at my “home away from home”, made such a lasting memory and will forever be etched on my heart.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Hungarian Goulash. I hope you share it with your family and friends and realize how much love went into it and the memories that are a part of it. Happy Comfort Cooking from the Memorable Kitchen!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian Paprika
- 2 lbs. stew beef or other tender cut of beef, cubed
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- 4 cups chicken or beef broth (I use beef broth)
- ½ teaspoon each, salt and pepper
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 1 lb tomatoes, canned or about 4 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used fresh)
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- In a large dutch oven, melt the butter. Saute the onions on medium heat about 8-10 minutes until soft.
- Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the paprika. Add beef and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add caraway seeds, stock and salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender.
- In a separate pot of water, par boil potatoes 8-10 minutes. Drain, peel and cube the potatoes. Add to the meat along with tomatoes, green peppers and marjoram. Cook partially covered over medium heat for 25-35 minutes until the vegetables are tender.