- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 5 ounces smoky bacon, chopped
- 2 pounds coarse ground pork from a butcher or hand-chopped pork shoulder (you can use ground pork from the meat case, but the dish will have more of a ground beef chili consistency)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 medium apples, such as Gala or Honeycrisp
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 Fresno chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 large bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup apple cider or cloudy organic apple juice
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Extra-wide egg noodles
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
- 1 cup sour cream
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, add to the hot bacon drippings and allow the meat to form a browned crust. Flip the pork, cook until the other side is browned and then crumble the pork with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
While the pork browns, peel and chop the apples. Add to the pork along with the thyme, chile peppers, onions and bay leaf and stir to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, coriander and cumin and stir for 1 minute. Return the bacon to the pan and add the chicken stock, cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened and the pork is tender (for hand-cut shoulder). Add a little more stock or water if the goulash dries out too quickly.
To serve, cook the noodles and toss with butter. Stir in the dill and parsley. Fill serving bowls with the noodles and a ladleful of goulash. Top with the cheese and sour cream.
Cook's Note: The goulash can be refrigerated for a make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium heat before serving. Leftovers make great nachos over pita chips, with melted cheese and sour cream.