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Pörkölt Recipe – Hungarian Pork Stew

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Pörkölt recipe or Hungarian pork stew, tender meat pieces in an aromatic onion and paprika sauce, served with nokedli. Only 4 ingredients!

Another delicious Hungarian stew – pörkölt – that can be enjoyed with the Hungarian Flour Dumplings – Nokedli, one of our favorite side dishes for stews.

What is pörkölt?

Pörkölt or porkolt is another typical, authentic Hungarian stew, which is also very common in Romania, especially in Transylvania. Another dish I have been eating all my life, although my grandmother never actually called it porkolt, she would call it “tocana de porc” – pork stew or even goulash.

hungarian pörkölt with nokedli - pork stew with dumplings

However, I have learned that both “tocana” or “tokany” in Hungarian and goulash would be the wrong names for this particular Hungarian pork stew.

According to Wikipedia there are differences between the three dishes: Porkolt or better spelled Pörkölt is made of meat (beef, pork, lamb), onions and paprika and does not have a lot of sauce. Goulash on the other side has more sauce, it is almost like a thick soup and also contains peppers and other vegetables.

Tokany is originating in Transylvania – Romania and doesn’t contain so much paprika (well, my grandma’s tocana always did have lots of paprika in it…) and it is made with different kinds of meat and normally lots of vegetables.

And when it comes to tocana, I really am an expert, I have made tocana with all kinds of meat (including lamb stew and rabbit stew) and with all possible vegetables, like potatoes, eggplants, peas and so on.

 

hungarian pörkölt with nokedli - pork stew with dumplings

What do you need?

Well, the pörkölt recipe is actually a very easy, straightforward recipe using only a few, good quality ingredients: meat, onions, paprika and lard.

Meat:

  • This recipe can be made with beef or pork, however I make it with pork most of the times, because that is the way my grandmother always cooked it. You can use the neck or leg of pork, cut into cubes.

Fat:

  • When using lard, just make sure you buy the pure pork lard and not some hydrogenated stuff, which is not good for you. Pure lard is easily available here in Germany, but I am not sure how easily you will find it elsewhere.
  • You can use vegetable oil instead.

Spices:

  • Good quality Hungarian sweet paprika powder is very important as well, make sure you buy the best you can afford, really cheap one just won’t do, I have made that experience myself.
hungarian pörkölt with nokedli - pork stew with dumplings

How to make Hungarian pork stew?

  • Dice the pork neck or leg into small cubes, about 1 cm/ 0.4 inches. Set aside.
  • Quarter the onions and slice the quarters very thinly.
  • Heat the lard or oil in a heavy-bottomed stewing pan or Dutch oven.
  • Fry the onions until golden. Stir in paprika powder.
  • Add pork and continue cooking for about 5 minutes searing the meat on all sides.
  • Pour about 250 ml/ 1 cup hot water, the meat should be barely covered in water. Add some salt and pepper as well. Stir well and cover.
  • Simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Check a few times, the dish should not become too dry and catch at the bottom of the pan. Add more hot water if necessary, but no more than 50 – 60 ml/ ¼ cup at a time.
  • After this time check the meat, it should be very tender. The onions should be “melted” or dissolved, you should not be able to recognize their form anymore. If the meat is not perfectly tender and the onions can still be seen and felt in the mouth, continue cooking the pörkölt for another 15 minutes, then check again.
  • At this point, if you have too much liquid in the pot, remove the lid and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until the water evaporates.
  • Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and serve.

How to serve?

My favorite side dish for the Hungarian pörkölt are nokedli – flour dumplings. However, mashed or boiled potatoes, German Spätzle, or regular pasta are also great. Serve with sour cucumbers or other pickled vegetables on the side.

Store and reheat

The Hungarian pork stew keeps well in the fridge for at least 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop and add a splash of water if necessary.

You can also freeze the leftovers, they will keep well for at least 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat properly before serving.

More Hungarian dishes:

pörkölt recipe served with brussels sprouts and dumplings.

Pörkölt Recipe - Hungarian Pork Stew

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Pörkölt or Hungarian pork stew, tender meat pieces in an aromatic onion and paprika sauce, served with nokedli. Only four ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs pork leg, neck or shoulder
  • 6 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons lard (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice the meat into small cubes, about 1 cm/ 0.4 inches. Set aside.
  2. Quarter the onions and slice the quarters very thinly.
  3. Heat the lard or oil in a heavy bottomed stewing pan or Dutch oven. Fry the onions until golden. Add the paprika powder and stir very well.
  4. Add the meat and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring often and making sure you sear the meat on all sides.
  5. Add about 250 ml/ 1 cup hot water, the meat should be barely covered in water. Add some some salt and pepper as well. Stir well and cover.
  6. Simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring regularly and checking that the dish doesn't become too dry and catches at the bottom of the pan. Add a little bit of extra hot water when the water in the pot is gone, but not more than 50 – 60 ml/ ¼ cup at a time.
  7. After this time check the meat, it should be very tender and the onions should be “melted” or dissolved, you should not be able to recognize their form anymore. If the meat is not perfectly tender and the onions can still be seen and felt in the mouth, continue cooking the pörkölt for another 15 minutes, then check again.
  8. At this point, if you have too much liquid in the pot, remove the lid and continue cooking the pörkölt for another 5-10 minutes or until the water evaporates.
  9. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and serve with nokedli – Hungarian flour dumplings, mashed or boiled potatoes, Spätzle or regular noodles. And also with sour cucumbers or other preserved vegetables.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 812Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 241mgSodium: 685mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 69g

Jutta Holden

Friday 17th of November 2017

Can't wait to make this! Looks so good! I have pork butt roast in freezer, is that also ok to use? Thank you for your wonderful recipes!

Adina

Friday 17th of November 2017

Hi Jutta. I think pork butt would be fine. Enjoy!?

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