This recipe, as you probably already guessed, is goulash. But it also includes potato balls that look similar to shoggoths, which is a large gelatinous shapeshifting creature full of eyeballs and mouths.
The first thing to note is that the mashed potatoes will need to be prepared in advance on your own, and if you’re using dried black-eyed peas instead of canned those will need to be soaked and cooked in advance as well.
I struggled a little bit with the mashed potatoes – whether “precooked mashed potatoes, chilled” meant literally just potatoes that have been mashed or full mashed potatoes with butter, salt, milk, etc. Did they mean the kind that comes from a box? I ended up doing something in the middle and just adding some butter and salt, although I think what they meant was just potatoes that have been mashed.
This is the order I’d recommend making this dish so that it all finishes around the same time: prepare all ingredients, make the goulash up to draining the cooking liquid (after the ground beef is browned), then form the potato balls and put them in the oven, and finally finish the goulash.
The goulash is simply cooking the veggies, beef, and sauces over the stove until cooked through. The potatoes take more time, but you’ll need that drained cooking liquid from the ground beef, onion and pepper to include in these potato balls.
For the potato balls, the ingredients are mixed together, formed into 4 large balls, and then have pearl onions and black-eyed peas pressed into the surface to look like jelly and eyes. These are then dusted with paprika, baked until golden and warmed throughout, and placed on top of the finished goulash.
This was really, really good, and I particularly liked the potato balls. The goulash was really good as well, but not quite a 10/10 for me (my husband disagrees). The potato balls and goulash went very well together.
Difficulty: Easy / Average
The goulash is incredibly easy – once everything is chopped, it’s just a matter of cooking it over the stove until beef is browned or for as long as the recipe calls for.
The potato balls were not all that challenging either, but you will need to be careful about making sure you have the right amount of liquid in the potatoes to keep them together – too little and it will crumble, and too much it will become mush.
You’ll need ground beef, onion, green pepper, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon, milk, pearl onions, black-eyed peas, and paprika.