I’m not sure if it’s the cool weather or approaching holidays, but I find myself making hearty meals from my childhood. Goulash was a staple in the Williams household, sometimes cooked on the stove top but best when baked in the oven.
My mother’s recipe is not an authentic Hungarian goulash, so if that’s what you’re hoping for, you’ll be disappointed. My mother’s goulash is a bastardized version full of Midwestern touches like ground beef and elbow macaroni.
Since I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients, my version is even further removed from the goulash family tree. But, it tasted good and was exactly what I needed.
The weather is finally turning cold and rainy here in the northwest. The leaves are turning beautiful paprika-like colors and there is a constant chill in the air. This will be my first winter in Vancouver and I’m excited by the visible change in seasons (you don’t get this in California).
As with the change in seasons, I find myself changing how and what I cook. I’m now drawn to baking casseroles and stews more than ever.
I started preparing for dinner the other night by contemplating what to do with two pork chops. After a long walk in the park, I came home craving goulash. Sadly, I knew we were without the necessary ground beef and green peppers which made my mother’s recipe so good.
The pork chops had to be used and I figured I could bend them to my will and force them into my goulash. I improvised on most ingredients, even the paprika, so my recipe is quite different from my mother’s. It turned out delicious so it’s good to know I can whip it up again with ingredients I have on hand.
Baked Pork Chop Goulash Recipe
2 pork chops
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chives, chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons smoked paprika*
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 19-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon hot sauce (I used sriracha)
3/4 cup water
8-ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
Salt to taste
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and turn skillet to coat.
- Place pork chops in skillet to brown for 1-2 minutes on each side. Season with salt as you flip the pork chops. Remove pork chops onto a plate and set aside.
- To the skillet, add the onion and saute until softened – 2-3 minutes.
- Add chives, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, brown sugar, tomatoes (with juice), hot sauce and water. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Remove skillet from heat. Fold in the macaroni and top with the reserved pork chops.
- Place skillet into a 350F oven and bake for 50 minutes or until pasta and pork are done. During the final 10 minutes, check to see if any additional water is needed. If so, drizzle 1/4 cup over the top and continue baking until done.
I didn’t have any smoked paprika so I substituted this also. In my spice drawer, I had a barbecue dry rub that was primarily composed of smoked paprika and brown sugar. I used 2 1/2 tablespoons of this mix in place of the paprika and brown sugar listed in the recipe.
The baked goulash turned out slightly spicy, a little sweet, and smoky from the paprika. The macaroni absorbs all of the liquid while it bakes, so in the end it’s not soupy at all. And, it makes the perfect dinner for two.
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