What is your “happy place”?
You know. The place you either mentally and/or physically go to when you need a break from life.
Sometimes, the world is just getting me down. Even though I oftentimes just skim the news, I’m so shaken and unsettled by world events (near and far) that more often than not, I just want to sit down and cry. Hug my knees and bawl my eyes out. Hence the need for a mental vacation spot a.k.a. my “happy place”.
I have several of those places and one of them is my blog. Other than writing about the dangers of GMO (it’s just too important not to discuss it), I am trying to keep it lighthearted and grounded on here – sort of to remind myself of all the good and truly important stuff in life: Food, family, friends!
Another happy place for me is our coffee shop/used book store down in the village. I can spend hours sipping fair trade coffee and rummaging through old books; losing myself in tales of great adventurers, murder mystery novels and colorful travel guides. Pure bliss.
On days when I feel thoroughly unbalanced, though, I turn to my chopping board. Nothing is more grounding than dicing onions, shredding kale or slicing carrots. Creating meals from scratch is one of the most therapeutic experiences.
Also, did I ever mention that I get homesick?!
I have a fool-proof remedy for that, though. My mom’s comfort cooking!
Truth to be told, this Goulash would contain chunky pieces of meat if I followed my mom’s recipe closely. Luckily, I love the challenge of veganizing dishes so – ta-dah! I am presenting: German/Hungarian style Parsnip Goulash with Mushrooms. Grain free and gluten free, of course!
Parsnip may seem like an odd choice to you but I found it works surprisingly well combined with the other ingredients. The natural sweetness of parsnips elevates the sweet note of Hungarian paprika, balanced by the acidity of dry red wine. Speaking off – be sure to use dry red wine. You just have to trust me on this one.
I’m not sure about your preference…. but I like my goulash thick. Thick and creamy. If the sauce is too thin, it just reminds me of goulash soup which is also very delicious but not how my people make it.
We typically eat this Parsnip Goulash over boiled potatoes or grain free pasta. My Soldier likes to eat it like a (thick) soup without any sides – another delicious option if you want to reduce your carb intake!
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large parsnip (about ½ lb), cut into ½” cubes
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 8oz mushrooms, sliced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoon Hungarian (sweet) paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon marjoram
- 26oz / 750g strained tomatoes
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 bay leafs
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, for about 6-8 minutes.
- Turn up heat and add parsnip, carrots and mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then stir in garlic, Hungarian paprika, cayenne pepper and marjoram. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, then add strained tomatoes, wine, broth and bay leafs.
- Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Taste for salt and serve over grain free pasta or potatoes.