Thursday, September 20, 2012

Main Man's goulash

Main man has a handful of main dishes that I'm not even allowed to cook. If we're having goulash, stroganoff, and sometimes spagetti or tacos...he takes the reigns and I know I've got the night off from cooking dinner. A lot of times, this falls on Sunday where I can sit in the kitchen with him and visit while he works...this is why Sunday is my favorite day of the week (which really means something because it's very abruptly followed by Monday and I'm not a fan of those).  He gets all camera shy and embarrassed when I take pics of him but I enjoy watching him stir and mix and prepare...not much measuring going on, but it always ends up tasting just like comfort food should taste.
As I said, there's not a whole lot of measuring with his cooking, and I do believe he uses different ingredients and different quantities each time. If we have everything he wants on hand, he uses:
2 lbs ground beef (could use ground turkey)
1 package elbow noodles
2 tomatoes, diced
1.5-2 large cans tomato juice (reserve some for leftovers, they tend to dry out after being refrigerated)
1 onion, diced
1 can mushrooms
3-5 cloves minced garlic
shredded cheese
fresh cracked pepper
seasoned salt
garlic powder

He starts out by browning his hamburger meat in a large skillet. While that is going, he is simultaneously boiling water to throw his noods in to boil. He's a multi-tasker, that's why I'm marrying him in a month :)

After the hamburger is browned and the grease is drained, we add the garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and spices (cracked pepper, garlic powder, and seasoned salt are all to taste but we use a lot, so around 2 t each).  Saute for a bit more to cook the veggies and meld the flavas.

Once the noods are almost done, drain them and add them back to the pot. Add a little butter (1 T-ish) and add the meat mixture into the pot as well. Stir and add the tomato juice. Here's where he is a stickler. You have to let this stuff simmer for an hour to let the noods soak up the juice and the spices, let the meat soak into the noods, and let it all become one big happy family before actually eating it. Main man does a walk by taste test every 15 minutes or so, just to see how the family is getting along, and then proclaims how much longer he thinks it's going to take for them to be at peace with each other and become one. I have a feeling this is an arbitrary time frame, and that he really just enjoys the taste testing and workup to the meal, but I like to watch his process as much as he insists on doing it so it's a win-win. Top with cheese and fresh cracked pepper, serve with garlic bread to dip, and a glass of skim milk and you just entered heaven, my friend!

I'll never understand how somehow the juice thickens into more of a sauce, and sends this downhome comfortable feeling right into your spinal column. In a way, it's like goulash soup, because the noods tend to get so limp with tomato juice love that you don't even have to chew them much to eat them. I never used to be a goulash fan until I had Main man's version, and I think it may have to do a lot with the feelings I get watching him prepare it as much as it has to do with the actual taste of it. It tastes like home on a Sunday evening with a couch cuddle and a fire in the near future...and that's one of my favorite tastes in the world.

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