Have you been looking for a hearty meal at the campground? You needn’t look any further than this venison goulash. It is the perfect mix of hearty, mouth-watering, and tummy-filling. While it does take some time to get the meal together and cooked, you will be basking in its deliciousness not minding that fact. The ingredients list is quite simple on this one as the intent is a quick campfire meal. We will bust out that Dutch oven and put it to good use. As always, I have some tips and tricks to customize your goulash. If you are looking for a campfire meal on a snowy fall evening this is it. It is also great after a long day of hiking to refuel in the summer. So cozy up around that fire, bust out your Dutch oven cooking skills, and let’s get going!
What is Goulash?
Goulash started out in Hungary. In fact, the dish has been served ever since the ninth century! In those days it was also a camping meal of sorts. The shepherds in Hungary would cook this dish and dry it in the sun. Using a sheep stomach lining they would carry their dried goulash into the fields and reconstitute it into a hearty stew. (Learn more history here.)
Luckily we do not need to do these steps today as we have the ability to car or RV camp! Therefore, you can make this great meal to stey fueled even without your trust sheep stomach.
Many of you may have some traditional Hungarian Paprika in your cupboard and not even know it. Paprika is a delicious seasoning that hails from Eastern Europe and is added to many different dishes. It is simply the backbone of this dish as well.
Not only does it provide flavoring but also the deep red color of the venison goulash. It enhances the depth through a level of smokiness. It won’t make it spicy. My children associated red with spicy foods and I had to assure them that paprika has a much different role!
No Dutch Oven? Try these foil pack meals instead!
If you do not have venison for this venison goulash, that is more than okay. As I mentioned above this dish was originally for shepherds. While they would have potentially had some fresh venison it is more likely that they use mutton and beef. Truly they probably used whatever protein they had on hand.
In my family, I have someone who enjoys hunting. So we have a freezer packed with some of their expertly trimmed meats. This allows us to switch things up from time to time. If you aren’t a hunter or don’t enjoy the flavor of venison that is okay. You can simply switch out the beef in this dish for whichever protein you prefer. I would caution that you should stick with red meats as the cooking of chicken or turkey in this dish may require significant adjustment of cooking times to prevent drying out of the meat.
Protiens to Try
- Venison (obviously this is my first choice!)
- Bear (We are getting exotic now)
Another fun Addition
Are you looking to make your meal even more filling? Why not add some biscuits to the mix. With any stew, it is nice to have some bread along for the ride. This gives you something to sop up those delicious juices that reside at the bottom of your bowl. In this case, I love to add biscuits to the Dutch oven as the venison goulash cooks. In this way, the biscuits cook at the top.
Now, this method is not going to result in a traditional southern biscuit. It will not have the crunchy texture that you may expect. The reason for this is that the biscuit actually steams in the juices from the Dutch oven as the goulash cooks. So in effect, what you end up with are massive dumplings! Serving your goulash with these makes the whole experience amazing. All you have to do is add the biscuits in the last 15 minutes of cooking right to the top. They will float and cook as the goulash finishes.
You could make your own campfire biscuits to go along with your goulash. Those would taste amazing. However, when I am in a pinch what I do is just purchase a can of prepackaged biscuits. It does save quite a bit of time and energy around the campfire. Honestly, they taste pretty good as well.
Can you guess what the main tool is here in our venison goulash? I’ll wait…okay you got it a Dutch oven! I mean I have only referenced it about twenty times so far! I have a 14″ Dutch Oven and honestly, it is overkill for this type of dish. That is unless I am feeding an army which sometimes it feels like. Using a 10″ or 12″ dutch oven should be sufficient for a family of four. You will also need some mixing spoons and a dutch oven lid lifter. These will help with cooking and keeping you safe!
Learn more about Dutch Ovens tools.
- Dutch Oven
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 1.5 lbs Venison from neck, flank, -Shanks, cut into cubes
- 3 md Onions very thinly sliced
- 1 md Green Bell pepper thinly Sliced, seeds & pith removed
- 2 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Water
- Start your fire and prepare cooking for medium heat.
- In a Dutch Oven, heat oil and brown venison, stirring often.2 Tbsp Oil, 1.5 lbs Venison
- Add the onions, sprinkle with paprika and salt while stirring, saute over med heat until onions are soft.3 md Onions, 2 Tbsp Paprika, 1 tsp Salt
- Put in the green pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.1 md Green Bell pepper
- Add water, cover the Dutch Oven but do not put coals on top.1/2 cup Water
- Cook 45 min to an hour, until the venison is fork-tender.
- Traditionally Goulash is served with broad noodles.
- You can add some pre-packaged biscuits to the top of this in the last 15 minutes of cooking. They will steam in the Dutch oven to perfection.
- Switch out the protein with whichever protein that you desire.