1920 American Goulash Recipe: Delicious and Easy To Make

1920 American Goulash

1920 American Goulash Recipe: Delicious and Easy To Make
Region / culture: USA | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4


1920 American Goulash
1920 American Goulash

The 1920 American Goulash is a hearty, comforting dish that has stood the test of time, offering a delicious blend of flavors that bring warmth and satisfaction to any meal. This recipe, with its simple yet flavorful ingredients, showcases the essence of American home cooking during the early 20th century. It's a testament to the resourcefulness and culinary creativity of that era, making use of readily available ingredients to create a dish that is both nourishing and flavorful.


American Goulash, also known as American Chop Suey in some regions, has its roots deeply embedded in the early 20th century American culinary landscape. It is a dish that evolved from the Hungarian Goulash, adapted by immigrants to utilize ingredients that were more readily available in the United States. The 1920 version of this recipe reflects a time when home cooks aimed to provide filling and nutritious meals for their families while being mindful of budget and ingredient availability. This adaptation has since become a beloved comfort food in many American households.


How to prepare

  1. Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy.
  2. Next, add the onion and hamburger meat.
  3. Cook until the onion turns golden and the meat browns.
  4. Add the beans and tomatoes.
  5. Allow it to cook for 15 minutes.
  6. For variety, you can now add carrots, rice, or both.


  • Consider adding bell peppers for a sweet note, substituting ground turkey for a leaner option, or incorporating different beans like black beans for variety. Spices like smoked paprika can also add a unique twist to the traditional flavor profile.
  • Consider adding other vegetables like bell peppers or corn for added flavor and nutrition. For a spicier version, increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add a dash of hot sauce.
  • Feel free to add other vegetables to the goulash, such as bell peppers, corn, or zucchini, to increase its nutritional value and add variety to the flavors. For a vegetarian version, substitute the hamburger meat with a plant-based protein like lentils or a meat substitute.
  • Consider adding bell peppers for a sweet note or substituting the hamburger with ground turkey for a lighter version. Incorporating different beans, like black beans or pinto beans, can also offer a delightful variation.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure your 1920 American Goulash turns out perfectly, consider the following tips:

- Fry the bacon until it's just crispy enough to add a rich flavor without overpowering the dish.

- Browning the hamburger with the onions allows for a deeper flavor profile.

- Simmering the mixture after adding beans and tomatoes helps to meld the flavors together beautifully.

- Feel free to adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper according to your taste preferences.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the goulash hot, ideally with a side of crusty bread or over a bed of cooked rice to soak up the delicious sauce. A side salad with a light vinaigrette can add a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the goulash.

Cooking Techniques

Slow simmering is key to developing the flavors in this goulash. Allowing the ingredients to cook together gently helps in creating a deeper, more harmonious dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a vegetarian version, substitute the meat with a meatless alternative or extra beans. Smoked paprika can replace the bacon for a similar smoky flavor without the meat.

Make Ahead Tips

This goulash can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days, allowing the flavors to meld together even more. It's also freezer-friendly, making it a great option for meal prep.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the goulash in a deep dish, garnished with fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color and freshness. A dollop of sour cream on top can add a creamy contrast to the rich flavors.

Pairing Recommendations

A robust red wine, such as a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs beautifully with the hearty flavors of the goulash. For a non-alcoholic option, a rich, dark bread complements the dish wonderfully.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding a little water or broth if necessary to prevent drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of 1920 American Goulash contains approximately 350-450 calories, making it a hearty and satisfying meal option that can fit into a balanced diet.


This dish is relatively moderate in carbohydrates, primarily coming from the beans, tomatoes, and any added rice or carrots. A serving without rice provides approximately 20-30 grams of carbohydrates, making it a suitable option for those monitoring their carb intake.


The fats in this recipe come mainly from the bacon and hamburger meat. Using lean hamburger meat can reduce the fat content, but the dish traditionally embraces the richness these fats bring. A serving contains roughly 15-25 grams of fat, depending on the meat's leanness and the amount of bacon used.


Protein is a significant component of the 1920 American Goulash, with the hamburger and beans providing a good protein source. A single serving can offer between 20-30 grams of protein, making it an excellent option for a protein-rich meal.

Vitamins and minerals

The tomatoes and carrots add a variety of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene. These nutrients contribute to the overall nutritional value of the dish, making it not only comforting but also beneficial for health.


This recipe is free from common allergens such as nuts, dairy, and gluten (if served without rice or with a gluten-free rice alternative). However, it does contain potential allergens like tomatoes and legumes (beans), which some individuals may need to avoid.


Overall, the 1920 American Goulash offers a balanced meal with a good mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a hearty, nutritious option that can be adjusted to meet various dietary needs.


The 1920 American Goulash is a timeless recipe that offers a comforting, nutritious meal suitable for any occasion. Its rich history, combined with the ability to adapt and personalize the dish, makes it a cherished recipe that continues to be enjoyed by many. Whether you're looking for a hearty dinner option or a make-ahead meal, this goulash is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. It was an old, yellowed piece of paper tucked away in the back of my grandmother's recipe box. The title read "1920 American Goulash," and as I read through the list of ingredients and instructions, I knew I had to give it a try.

I asked my grandmother where she had gotten the recipe, and she told me that it had been passed down to her from her own mother. She said that it was a dish that had been a staple in their household during the 1920s, a time when money was tight and families had to make do with what they had.

As she told me the story behind the recipe, I could picture my great-grandmother standing in her small kitchen, stirring a pot of bubbling goulash on the stove. She told me that the dish was a favorite among her family and that it brought them comfort during difficult times.

Inspired by my grandmother's story, I set out to recreate the 1920 American Goulash in my own kitchen. I gathered the ingredients – ground beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and macaroni – and set to work following the instructions on the faded piece of paper.

As the goulash simmered on the stove, the aroma filled my kitchen, transporting me back to a time long before my own. I could almost imagine my great-grandmother standing over the pot, her hands stained with tomato sauce, a smile on her face as she prepared a meal for her family.

When the goulash was finally ready, I ladled it into bowls and sat down to taste my creation. The flavors were rich and hearty, the perfect combination of savory meat, tangy tomatoes, and tender macaroni. It was a dish that spoke of simpler times, of families coming together around the dinner table to share a meal and stories of their day.

I knew then that this recipe would become a treasured part of my own collection. I would pass it down to future generations, just as my grandmother had done for me. It was more than just a dish – it was a piece of my family's history, a connection to the past that would always hold a special place in my heart.

As I sat at the table, savoring each bite of the 1920 American Goulash, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the traditions and recipes that had been handed down to me. They were more than just meals – they were memories, stories, and a link to the generations that had come before.

And so, as I finished my meal and washed the dishes, I knew that I would continue to cook and share these recipes with my own loved ones. The 1920 American Goulash would always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of the strength and resilience of my family, and the power of a simple meal to bring us all together.


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