Hungarian-Quebecois Vegetable Goulash

I went to Quebec for a family trip 2 weeks ago and picked up a few cookbooks. This recipe is adapted from “Made in Quebec”, which gets wonderful vegetables from nearby Ile D’Oleans. I think it’s perfect for what’s in farmers markets this week. Don’t worry if you’re missing or want to omit some of the veggies (e.g. mushrooms). And feel free to experiment with substituting eggplant, summer squash or even butternut squash (added with the potatoes) for some of the vegetables.

Serves: 8

Ingredients

      1. Oil (sunflower, canola, or whatever). 4 tbps (divided 2 and 2)
      2. Onions, 3 medium, chopped (divided, 2 and 1)
      3. Garlic – 6 cloves, minced, pressed or crushed (divided, 5 and 1)
      4. Water – 1 cup
      5. Red-skinned potatoes, 10, peeled and cubed (I would not hesitate to substitute new potatoes or pretty much any firm ones)
      6. Roma or plum tomatoes, 4, chopped (or 1-2 cups of any good chopped tomatoes)
      7. Green or long beans – 1 cup, cut in one-inch pieces
      8. Bell peppers, 5, chopped (use any colors you like) (divided 3 and 2)
      9. Mushrooms – 8 ounces, sliced
      10. Hungarian paprika, 2 tbps plus 1 tsp, divided (feel free to use whatever paprika you have)
      11. Salt – to taste (1 tsp, more or less)
      12. Pepper – preferably fresh ground
      13. Tofu, firm, 1 lb, wiped dry or even drained, then cubed
      14. Flat leaf parsely (for garnish)
      15. Sour cream (optional)

Preparation

    1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Saute’ 2 of the onions until golden, 3-5 minutes or more.
    3. Add water and potatoes and boil gently for 10-15 minutes, until softened.
    4. Add tomatoes, green beans, 3 of the bell peppers and mushrooms.
    5. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often  for about 5 minutes or until vegetables and mushrooms are softened.
    6. Add 5 cloves of the garlic, 2 tbsp paprika, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
    7. Stir in sour cream.
    8. Take off or greatly reduce heat, and keep warm.
    9. Heat the other 2 tbsp of oil in a large heavy saucepan.
    10. Saute’ the remaining 1 onion and 1 garlic clove over medium heat until golden, 3-5 minutes or more.
    11. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until tofu is crisp and golden on edges.
    12. Add 1 tsp paprika and cook another 5 minutes or so.
    13. Add remaining 2 peppers and cook another 5 minutes or until peppers are tender.
    14. Ladle the vegetable mixture into warmed bowls and top with the tofu mixture.
    15. Garnish generously with parsley and serve.

Riffing on this Recipe

If you want to experiment, think of the ratios of this recipe this way:

For the goulash you have:

  • 2 cups of onions (also consider leeks, scallions, or shallots) and 4-5 tbsp of garlic.
  • 10 waxy potatoes.  That’s about 2-3 pounds of a starchy vegetable.  You probably want to use vegetables that will keep some shape in the cooking.  If you want to use carrots, I would use them here.
  • 1-2 cups of tomatoes.  I’d use tomatoes, but not worry about the specific type.
  • 4 cups of mixed vegetables (or 5, if you’re not using mushrooms). Mixing colors would be fun. Green, red, yellow, orange are all options.
  • 1-2 cups of mushrooms, or eggplant if you don’t like mushrooms.  Or increase the tofu (below).
  • Oil
  • 1 cup of water
  • Paprika, salt and pepper (or try a mild chili power)

So the general approach is this: saute the onions until golden, add the water and starchy vegetables and cook until they’re softened, but not tender (they’re going to cook another 10 minutes or so). Add the tomatoes and the other vegetables and cook until those are softened.  Then add the garlic and spices to taste and cook another 5+ minutes till things are as tender as you want them. Stir in sour cream (or yogurt or kefir, etc.) and keep warm.

For the tofu, you have

  • 1 lb firm tofu (but you could try tempeh, seitan, canned chickpeas or mushrooms)
  • 1 cup onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups of chopped vegetables
  • paprika (also, mild chili powder)
  • Oil
  • parsley

Here, saute the onions and garlic together in the oil, then cook the “tofu” until it’s crispy or at least cooked through (depending on what you choose).  Add the paprika and cook a little longer, then add the vegetables.  If you switched the tofu for a vegetable, you could even mix in a scrambled egg and cook until stiff to add some protein.

I think I would top this with some warmed sour cream or yogurt before adding the parsley.

Bon apetit.