Ghouls, goblins, and witches, oh my! It must be Halloween time! Time for pumpkins, costumes, and, of course, tons of treats. But, along with those treats, it’s also nice to have a warm, hearty dish to offset the sugar frenzy that awaits post-trick or treating. Warm and satisfying, a little ghoulish goulash is perfect for a long, chilly Halloween night. The paprika gives the traditional Hungarian goulash a reddish, dare I say, eerie color, and the long wide pappardelle noodles are the perfect “worms” to pair with it. Even better is that you can just throw it on the stove and let it simmer throughout the evening while tricksters come and go!
This is a recipe that my mom made throughout my childhood and is one that I always looked forward to. It’s warm and comforting and so incredibly easy to make. Make sure that you use sweet Hungarian paprika. Smoky or regular paprika will provide a vastly different taste. While the recipe uses a simple Dutch oven for simmering, it is equally delicious in a slow cooker. Pair it with the warm buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, or just warm rolls and a salad and dinner is served. It’ll warm you from the inside out. So, sit back, relax, and watch out for those ghouls creeping about in the cold, dark night. Enjoy!
Wine note: the slightly sweet and savory stew pairs perfectly with an earthy, spicy red wine. I love this with a spicy Zinfandel, such as the Zin from Leoness (Temecula, CA) or the full body Syrah from Zaca Mesa (Santa Barbara, CA).
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 lbs. cubed beef (such as eye of round roast or top sirloin)
2 to 3 tablespoons water, plus up to 1 quart
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 to 3 gold or yellow potatoes, cubed
1 package refrigerated Pappardelle noodles (extra-wide egg noodles work as well)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
- In a large Dutch oven, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it becomes light brown (do not burn). Add the beef, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir well.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and mix well. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add up to a quart of water, depending on how soupy you want the goulash to be. Simmer for another hour.
- Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, and potatoes. Simmer, covered, for another hour or until the potatoes and meat are very tender. If there is too much liquid in the goulash per your taste, just remove the cover and allow the liquid to reduce down before serving. If there is too little liquid, then add a little beef broth or water and simmer for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve with noodles (recipe below), mashed potatoes, or warm rolls and a green salad.
Note: If using a slow cooker, then at step 3 add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low or high (depending on when you are serving), but a minimum of 4 hours.
Warm “worm” Buttered Noodles
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
- Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions until they are al dente (cooked, yet still firm). Do not over cook!
- Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, add the butter, additional salt, and parsley. Add a few tablespoons of the hot pasta water and mix until the butter is melted.
- Toss pasta in the butter sauce and serve with the Ghoulish Goulash. Enjoy!