Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot: Spicy Mexican Goulash

At present, I am reading Thomas Mann’s masterpiece “The Magic Mountain” about a young man from Hamburg who visits his cousin at a tuberculosis sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland before the outbreak of World War I. There, among the snow-capped peaks and dewy valleys dappled with cows and first-class invalids, our protagonist is introduced to European patients on “rest cures” where rehabilitation duration is measured in time increments of months, not days or weeks, to undergo their various (and some rather haunting) treatments. Not to spoil the book but the dear young scholar from the northern port city becomes enchanted by this lifestyle and seeks out his own rest cures alongside that of his cousin; surely “The Magic Mountain” is an allegory of pre-War Europe and the plot’s setting serves as a microcosm of the continent before that fateful day in Sarajevo but I digress. The Bell Kitchen is about cooking! The book isn’t entitled “The Magic Souffle” or “The Bearnaise Mountain” but it does have something I wish to mention;
The “rest cure”
I must admit, I have been shamefully idle on my own blog but the truth of the matter is that I have been taking my own versions of “rest cures” in recent trips to Saxony, Dubai, and Istanbul. I have been privy to perhaps the most enchanting meals I have ever enjoyed – so different from the traditional dumplings or schnitzel in Prague but rather moist pork steaks massaged with sharp German mustard or chicken filet served in a creamy mountain mushroom sauce, hand-picked fungi, and cracked pepper showered over homemade spatzle from a cook who hasn’t deserted his culinary post in decades. And don’t get me started on the Middle Eastern food I have devoured with abandon – the spices are other-worldly and the Turkish breakfasts deserve a blog just devoted to themselves! It has been a caloric dream and a restful pause surely but alas, it is 2015 and there is no such thing as month-long rests (unless, that is, you are swathed in currency and don’t actually contribute to society in any sort of meaningful way).
The other “rest” has been something a bit more 21st century: I am trying to diet. (Gasp). Ok, ok, well to “cut-back”. So not diet, per se, but to just live a healthier life. Under no circumstances am I implying that my blog is unhealthy – for shame! – it is much more that I have been grazing on fruits and easy salads, brainless Greek yogurt with mountain honey, or the daily turkey and swiss wrap (referred to for years as “Old Ironsides”) as that is my go-to, utilitarian lunch. I haven’t been cooking although there are zillions of ways to do so! Tsk, tsk, Adam. So hence my blog delay but, you see, I have grown bored of all these fussy rests and last night I took to the kitchen and physically dug out my apron (bad sign, bad sign) and whipped up a healthy vegetarian “Mexican Goulash”.
Due to the fact I have not done a haul from my neighborhood grocer and in hunger pains after a long run yesterday, I got right into my pantry and dug out 1 can of chick peas, 1 of mixed beans, and 1 can of sweet corn. I also had fresh lemons handy, sliced jalapenos, in addition to cherry tomatoes, garlic, onion, and red bell peppers. What I wanted was a low-cal, protein-rich food that would nourish my body (and make room in my limited-size pantry!) The husband is vegetarian so that was another bonus. I had a spicy chorizo sausage that I cooked up for myself to top off but this dish was perfect and homey for my Wednesday night.
I happen to love spicy food and this, although a Titanic throw from my French kitchen favorites, is truly something that was light, easy, and downright delicious.
In the works...
In the works…
You can add a spicy chorizo if a protein is desired
You can add a spicy chorizo if a protein is desired
Spicy Mexican Goulash
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1 large onion, diced
  2. 6-8 jalapeno slices
  3. 1 can chick peas (rinsed)
  4. 1 can mixed beans (rinsed)
  5. 1 can sweet corn (rinsed)
  6. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 10 sliced cherry tomatoes
  8. 2 cups celery (sliced thinly)
  9. 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  10. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  11. 1 cup dry white wine or vegetable stock
  12. Salt, fresh cracked pepper, Provencal herbs, and garlic powder for seasoning
  13. Serve with a whole wheat or flour tortilla & lemon slice
  14. Garnish with shredded cheese or sour cream (optional)
  1. On medium high heat, saute your onions until they are translucent in EVOO
  2. Add garlic cloves and saute for another 2-3 minutes
  3. (If adding beef, 80% chuck or your sausage to the onions and garlic at this point and begin in a separate saute pan -- you may add some onions for flavor from your main Goulash dish with the meat)
  4. Begin to add your tomatoes, beans, peppers, tomatoes, and celery -- saute for 3 minutes on medium high heat -- add a tbsp or two of EVOO for flavor
  5. Add seasoning
  6. Add the liquid ingredients and bring to a boil before reducing to medium and covering with aluminum foil
  7. Cook and stir occasionally for 12-15 minutes until ingredients are soft but not overcooked
  8. Correct seasoning
  9. Let cool for five minutes and plate. The Goulash should be thick and not runny (if runny, return to heat)
  10. Serve with warm tortilla bread (top with chorizo sausage, if desired) and a lemon wedge
  11. Optional: top with shredded cheese or sour cream
  1. A spicy chorizo sausage can be added if desired
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