Texas foodways expert: Goulash is cowboy soup, linked to Texas chili

When I saw that goulash is a possible Dish of the Quarter, it seemed fitting to share this 2015 article.

In 2014, Robb Walsh visited Leipzig, Germany, and surrounding areas, and chased down a “goulash canon” that was serving chili con carne!

In Prague, he ate goulash - his take on the recipe is here.

That recipe later made it into his 2015 The Chili Cookbook, and the Houston Chronicle interviewed him and included that recipe in the article (plus recipes for homemade chili powder, Cincinnati chili, lobster chili, and the chili con carne served at his now-closed El Real restaurant). From the article:

During a trip to Prague he learned that Czech goulash is actually Hungarian “cowboy soup.” Gulyas (goulash) in Hungarian means “cowboy,” named for cowboys who herded cattle on the Great Hungarian Plain in the 19th century. The link between Hungarian goulash and Texas chili is the cowboy cultures where cattle-drive meals were made with meat and peppers. The connection grows even stronger, Walsh uncovered, in that the production of commercial paprika powder inspired German immigrant William Gebhardt to create an ancho chile powder in New Braunfels in 1899. Gebhardt’s Eagle Brand Chili Powder, made with ancho chile, cumin and oregano, eventually became so popular and prevalent that it “standardized the flavor of chili con carne across the country,” Walsh writes.


Texans are amusing.
I think they’d claim they invented ice if they thought they could get away with it.
And I’m 1/2 Texan!


I think that’s what Walsh is saying, too: Texans would not have chili or even our chili powder except for the influences from Hungarian cowboys and their goulash (and he lists other influences too, from the Aztecs to the Canary Islands and Morocco, and he destroys us with this bomb: the oldest chili he found was in Illinois!).

I mean, but surely it’s true that we Texans invented ice! :cowboy_hat_face:


I hail from New England and goulash was browned hamburger along with chopped onion, tomato sauce, s & p mixed with boiled elbow macaroni. My mother made it up the night before to let the flavors meld. Heated up the next night after she got home from work. Served with green shaker cheese. Loved it.

Also, Texas is the largest state because ice doesn’t count.:grin:


I’m from Michigan and DH is from Missouri, and that’s exactly what goulash was in our houses growing up (late 70s early 80s).

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I would call that Johnny Marzetti, staple of school lunches.


This is also known in New England as “American Chop Suey” in homes and school cafeterias!