Homeschooling · Recipes

Homeschooling Project: Jewish Cooking

Our youngest is in 6th grade and his homeschooling curriculum includes a social studies book where with each chapter he covers a new region. In each region, he has choices of further studying for that country. It often includes where the student researches and makes a meal from the region. And if that is a choice, we make meals. Getting him to plan, go shopping, and help me cook is fun.

This section was on Israel, studying the deep history of the Jewish people. We went to the library and found a book on Jewish Soul Food. My Mother was mostly Ashkenazi Jew, and her heritage was from Russia and Poland. I grew up eating Jewish poverty meals, for she was an excellent cook at making home-spun meals out of almost nothing so many times. To me, those meals were comfort food. The book Jewish Soul Food is a wonderful cookbook, just full of history and really good-looking recipes. It is one worth picking up and actually cooking from.

As adapted from page 83. 

Goulash (Beef Stewed in Paprika Sauce)


  • 3 Tbsp schmaltz (chicken fat) or oil*
  • 2 pounds yellow onions
  • 1½ Tbsp Hungarian Paprika
  • 2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram (1 Tbsp fresh)
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 3 cups beef or chicken broth (used lower sodium beef)
  • 1 cup water, potentially
  • 4 small russet potatoes, peeled and chopped small bite-size


In a large, heavy-bottomed pot/skillet (used a 10″ cast iron skillet) melt the fat over medium heat.

Peel and slice the onions, add to the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add the paprika and stir briefly. Add the meat in, and cook until browned, stirring often.

Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, marjoram, and caraway and mix well.

Pour in the broth.

Bring to a boil, stirring well, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

I found I needed to add in a cup more water at about 1 hour 30 minutes in. I had the burner dialed down to the lowest setting, but our gas stove is very high-powered, and cast iron cooks hot. So your results may vary, based on your pot and stove.

At 1 hour 30 minutes in I added in the potatoes, and stirred them in well. And let them cook for 30 minutes, for a total cooking time of 2 hours.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. I didn’t feel it needed any.

Serves (with pasta as noted below) 5 people amply.


I do not eat kosher, so I used ghee butter, as I had it on hand. It’s a great substitute for chicken fat I find. Using butter is not kosher, however with beef.

I served it with buttered egg noodles (I cooked up 12 ounces of dry pasta). Again, butter isn’t kosher in this case, as the noodles touch the goulash. In Kosher they would use non-dairy margarine.