Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quick Turkey Hungarian Goulash

Plate of Hungarian Goulash
With Wholegrain Penne Pasta

Recipe by Mom and Robin

Consider tomatoes as a possible comfort food. Just picked from the garden, still warm from the sun, yes. Cold from the fridge and sliced up in a salad, not so much. With tomato harvests reaching their peak, it’s time to figure out how to use mass quantities, while creating comforting meals that are also healthy. That’s a tall order. 

Slow-cooked or baked tomato sauce has comfort value when paired with whole grain pasta, rice noodles, or even steamed zucchini strips. Or slap the sauce on focaccia bread with thinly sliced veggies and grated lowfat mozzarella for quick pizza. Or do what my mom did: fill your tomato sauce with seasonal veggies and ground meat and serve it mixed with pasta or noodles. You could even try it over rice.

Pile of Multicolored Peppers added to Pan with Meat and Onion
Adding the First Active Ingredient
My mom simply called this dish “goulash.” I added “Hungarian” to its moniker when I added sweet paprika to her recipe. Because the meat is ground, it cooks and takes on flavor in a fraction of the time you’d spend preparing the classic beef dish. And speaking of beef, my mom used ground beef in her goulash. You can too, if you eliminate the olive oil and pour off any accumulated fat before adding the onions.

Tomatoes and Paprika Added to Frying Pan
Adding Other Active Ingredients
This recipe is perfect for gardeners, because the amounts of tomatoes and peppers can vary. Mom always used mushrooms, which admittedly tastes better. I sometimes skip the mushrooms if I’m concentrating on using up a ton of tomatoes and peppers. For best results, use a variety of peppers, from mild to semi-spicy. I used Hungarian wax and poblano (both semi-spicyt) combined with Anaheims, mini bell peppers and an unknown sweet red variety (all mild). The more types of peppers you throw in, the more complex the flavor.

This recipe can be doubled. My mom mixed the pasta into the goulash. I sometimes serve them separately so guests can choose the amounts of pasta and sauce that they prefer.

Basket of Red, Green, Dark Green, and Yellow Peppers
Use a Variety of Peppers
Quick Turkey Hungarian Goulash
serves 3 - 4

½ lb. ground turkey
1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 cup diced onion or sliced leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 3 cups diced or sliced mixed peppers
~½ lb. sliced mushrooms (optional)
2 – 3 cups diced ripe tomatoes
¼ cup dry red wine
1 ½ tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
a few grinds of black pepper
2 tbsp. (or 3) tomato paste
½ lb. pasta shells or rigatoni (wholegrain preferred)
1 - 2 tbsp. chopped parsley (optional)

Check your pasta directions and put on a pot of water to boil. Wholegrain pasta often needs to cook about 10 minutes. Salt the water and begin cooking wholegrain pasta after meat is browned for best timing.

Brown ground turkey at 400 degrees in nonstick electric frying pan, or use your favorite alternative method. Use 1 tbsp. olive oil if needed. Break turkey up into pieces and brown all sides, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add onion and continue cooking till translucent, adding up to 1 tbsp. more oil as needed.

Add garlic and cook till fragrant, 1 minute or less. Stir in mixed peppers and mushrooms (if using). Cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly to heat all surfaces.

Stir in diced tomatoes, red wine, paprika, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, cover and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid, stir and simmer uncovered to reduce liquid as necessary. Serve with pasta and optional sprinkle of chopped parsley.

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