Sunday, October 05, 2008

Grandma's Goulash

"Pepper will put a man on his horse, and a woman in her grave!" Those were the words of my maternal grandmother, Ethel. We would go to stay with her for two weeks each summer, my brother and me. Then my sisters would join her and she'd repeat the previous two weeks with them. She cooked every meal pretty much from scratch, never used any spices, unless cooking a turkey, then sage was the usual choice. The statement above is one we heard at breakfast when asking for pepper on our eggs like grandpa's.

Ethel was the quintessential fine lady. Her avocation was homekeeping. She did it with great honor and very few complaints. Cooking became her signature, along with entertaining friends. She was a modern woman in her time, the envy of friends for certain. I can only imagine groups of friends gathered at her home every plate impeccably prepared, women fawning over her food and men sharing a cigar and a highball with grandad, Sid.

For a month each year, their home became grandkid central and all things stopped for a time. She then entertained us with food, cleaning and strict behavior. When I look back at those weeks spent at grandma's house I have many great memories. The best being Goulash.

ready to eat Goulash

Goulash became a centerpiece of entertaining the grandkids. It is quick, simple and likable by all. How can you go wrong? I cooked up a batch the other night. While I was cooking my daughter at my side I shared my love for goulash, the changes made in our home and how she didn't remember eating it as a child. Then the phone rang, it was daughter number three. She asked if I was preparing dinner, affirmative I answered, "What are you cooking?" I answered Goulash. He reply came, "It is one of my favorite meals. I can't believe sis doesn't remember it."

Grandma's Goulash for all.

Begin with a pound of good ground beef, 7% lean or better.
2 - 10 oz cans of Del Monte Stewed tomatoes (original recipe)
4 to 5 peeled carrots, sliced 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick
4 to 5 stalks of celery, sliced the same as the carrots.

While you are browning your meat, sliced your vegetables. I add a bit of garlic granules to the meat as it cooks. Drain meat once it is cooked. Add the carrots, celery and tomatoes all at once, placing the lid on the skillet and allow it to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Once your vegetables are tender you're ready to eat.

Goulash, cooked

I serve it with a salad, rolls and that's it. Family variation, if you don't have rolls, my husband asks that I add some whole wheat flat noodles to the mix to give it more of a hearty dinner. Enjoy.