Savory Soup Sunday: Goulash Soup

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The time between paychecks can seem to drag on forever. It certainly did when I was growing up. Those last few days were often rough. Mom did what she could to stretch the money until the next paycheck. One way she did so was by what she served for dinner.

One of my favorites was goulash. In the recent past I’ve learned it’s also called American goulash or American chop suey. Whatever you call it, it was darn good. It was simple food at its best. Mom usually made it the same way every time. Cook off some ground beef. Cook some macaroni. Drain the macaroni, add a can or two of whole tomatoes, and add in the ground beef. If we had any, she sometimes added green bell pepper. Sometimes Mom added onions and sometimes not. And Parmesan cheese was always available in that familiar green shaker canister available at every supermarket. It was one of those dishes that was even better as a leftover. Or cold; more than once I might have snitched some from the fridge.

Once out on my own, I added it to my repertoire. It was a favorite for years. Sometimes I used ground beef. Other times I used ground turkey. Sometimes I skipped the meat altogether. And while the pasta and/or types of peppers used may have changed from time to time, I always used tomatoes, too. Sometimes I turned it into soup.

Then came 2016, and I had to change my diet. Pasta was no longer in the picture. Or so I thought. But I just couldn’t give it up for good. It is a dish that had an important place in my childhood. Besides, I really like it.

Finally, a week ago, I made goulash soup for the first time in a long while. I didn’t skip the pasta, either. But I treated in differently. Instead of featuring it in the dish, it was a costar. I didn’t leave out the meat, but again, I didn’t let it play a starring role. The stars of this goulash soup were the vegetables.

Besides taste, the greatest thing about about this soup is its versatility. Just like the non-soup version, you can use whatever vegetables you want. Tomatoes are pretty much a given. In this case, I used Italian-style tomato sauce I made and canned. I used both red and green bell peppers because they’re what I had on hand. And I threw in some red pepper flakes because that’s just how I roll. I did use meat this time, but you can certainly skip it. And I topped with mozzarella. Yep, that’s what I had on hand.

And the pasta?

I had a partial box of rotini that I’d had for who knows how long. I made approximately 4 servings of the soup. But rather than use 4 servings of pasta, I used 1 serving. So even if I sat there and ate the whole pot (which I didn’t), I’d still only be eating 1 serving of pasta.

I made this goulash soup in the slow cooker. Ordinarily, though, I make it in a soup pot on top of the stove. So you can do either. Choose whatever is convenient for you.

This soup is a good choice for any time of year. During the summer, use fresh produce you’ve grown or gotten from the farmers’ market. Use what you preserved when fresh vegetables are difficult to come by. Commercially frozen vegetables–without salt or sauce–are also good choices.

Here’s my version of goulash soup. But remember–make it your own.

© Copyright 2017 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook
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