i set out to make goulash. what happened next will astound you

by isaac black

I didn’t know exactly what goulash is, but I knew I wanted to make it. Probably my only encounter with goulash was in some city in China whose name I can’t remember where everyone on the street tried to sell us weed. We stayed at some hostel owned by a guy named Tibetan Dave or something, and we had dinner that night at the restaurant. We all had goulash, my friends opting for the yak goulash while I got the veggie. They got food poisoning, while I got a pleasant memory of a warming comfort food that I tried to find a recipe for several times in the years after. Turns out goulash isn’t a traditional Tibetan food (unless there’s another name for it); it was specific to Tibetan Dave’s hostel or something.

Anyway, last night I was googling veggie goulash recipes and wasn’t happy with what I found, so I winged it. And it turned out delicious. So without further ado–while it’s fresh in my mind–here’s the approximate recipe:

Friday Night Goulash

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

1 large potato, chopped

1 large parsnip, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 package baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 can black eyed peas

3 c. water

4 medium roma tomatoes, chopped

1 parmesan rind

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp smoked paprika


Chop the red onion and sautee in the olive oil in a stock pot. When the onions begin to get soft, deglaze the pot with a splash of cooking wine (I used sherry, because why not). Add the vegetables, minus the tomatoes, and stir for a minute to coat with the oil. Add the water, tomatoes, cheese rind, herbs, and a generous amount of salt. Turn up the heat to medium high until the water is just beginning to boil. Turn the heat to medium low and let simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until the parsnips are soft. Salt to taste.

I had added 3 1/2 cups water because the vegetables were piled so high, but they cooked down quickly. Don’t be alarmed if your water doesn’t cover the veggies. I ended up simmering with the lid off to try to cook it down for more of a stew texture, but if you are running low on water, feel free to leave the lid on.