Tender pork pieces in an aromatic onion and paprika sauce, served with Hungarian flour dumplings – nokedli.
Another delicious Hungarian recipe that can be enjoyed with the Hungarian Flour Dumplings – Nokedli, one of our favorite side dishes for stews. Pörkölt is another typical, authentic Hungarian dish, 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 pörkölt, she would call it “tocana de porc” – pork stew or even goulash.
However, I have learned that both “tocana” or “tokany” in Hungarian and goulash would be the wrong names for this particular stew. According to Wikipedia there are differences between the three dishes: 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 rabbit) and with all possible vegetables. Have a look at some of these recipes, they could all be some kind of Romanian tocana:
How to make Hungarian Pork and Paprika Stew – Pörkölt:
Well, it is actually a very easy, straightforward recipe using only a few, good quality ingredients: meat, onions, paprika and lard.
When using lard, just make sure you buy the pure lard Massa Natural Meats – Pasture-Raised, Heritage Pork Lard and not some hydrogenated stuff, which is not good for you. Pure lard, it is easily available here in Germany, but I am not sure how easily you will find it elsewhere. If you don’t find the good stuff (have a look at the ingredient list), you could make your own or use oil instead.
A good quality sweet paprika powder Hungarian Sweet Paprika 50gr/1.76oz 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.
Do not add too much water from the beginning, start with the indicated quantity and only add more if the stew becomes too dry threatening to start catching at the bottom of the pot.
The dish will need over an hour to be ready, check not only that the pork is tender (it should be really tender) but also check the onions, they should be – like my grandmother would have said it – melted, dissolved, you should not be able to recognize them as onions anymore.
My favorite side dish for the Hungarian Pork and Paprika Stew are the nokedli – flour dumplings, but I have also had this with mashed or boiled potatoes, German Spätzle or regular pasta.
- 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs pork leg or pork shoulder
- 6 medium onions
- 2 tablespoons lard (or vegetable oil)
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
- salt and pepper
Dice the meat into small cubes, about 1 cm/ 0.4 inches. Set aside.
Quarter the onions and slice the quarters very thinly.
Heat the lard Massa Natural Meats - Pasture-Raised, Heritage Pork 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.
Add the meat and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring often and making sure you sear the meat on all sides.
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.
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.
After this time check the meat, it should be very tender and the onions, they 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 the pörkölt for another 5-10 minutes or until the water evaporates.
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 gherkins or other preserved vegetables or any cooked vegetables of choice.
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