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Chef John's American Goulash

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Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 pounds ground beef 1 large onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 large bay leaves 2 tablespoons paprika

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2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 2 teaspoons kosher salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste 1 quart chicken broth 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce

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1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes 1 cup water 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 cups elbow macaroni ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley 1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese (Optional)

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Heat oil in a pot on medium-high. Cook and stir ground beef and onion for 5 minutes until beef is browned and crumbly and onion transparent. 

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Continue cooking and stirring until liquid evaporates, 3–5 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

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Cook ground beef and onions in a saucepan until browned and transparent. 

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Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors. Add tomato sauce, broth, and diced tomatoes. Swirl water into the sauce container and add to the pot. Add soy sauce and boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes to increase flavors.

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Add broth, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, and soy sauce to saucepan and boil until flavors develop. 

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Turn up the heat to medium-high and simmer quickly. Add macaroni and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring periodically, until barely tender. Check doneness after 10 minutes.

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Add macaroni and cook until soft. Discard bay leaves after cooking. Mix in parsley and cheddar. Cover and rest 5 minutes. Season to taste.

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