Goulash Or Goulish?
By John Havel
Goulash is a spicy dish, originally from Hungary, usually made of
beef, onions, red peppers, and paprika powder. Its name comes from
Hungarian gulyás, the word for a stockman or herdsman ("gulya" means
a herd of animals, usually cows). It has traditionally been
considered a simple home meal because it requires little attention
after the initial preparation and because it uses more affordable
cuts of meat. Today, however, it is also often served in restaurants.
In the United States and Canada, various adaptations have made the
dish more suitable for local preferences, with the result that
American "goulash" often bears little or no resemblance to the
Hungarian original. Hamburger frequently replaces stew beef in
American goulashes, which reduces the cost as well as the cooking
time. The meat and onions are then placed in the kettle, the other
ingredients are added to them, and the dish might be ready to serve
in as little time as 30 to 45 minutes. This form of the dish was made
popular by its inclusion in cookbooks in the twentieth century.
American goulash is commonly finished by the addition of noodles or
pasta (elbow macaroni being particularly popular), which does not so
much thicken the product as absorb the juice of the tomatoes.
Depending on the amount of noodles or pasta used, American goulash
may be a stew, a soup, or a casserole, rather than a true "goulash"
such as one finds in Hungarian cuisine.
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