Don’t let the fancy name fool you, Pörkölt is an easy and flavorful Hungarian beef stew (often refered to as goulash in the united states) made with simple ingredients.
Hungarian Pörkölt vs Goulash
Pörkölt (Peur-keult) is Hungarian for beef stew and is a popular Hungarian recipe made by braising meat and simmering it with onions in a tomato based sauce. It’s served warm, over noodles and it’s absolutely delicious.
My brother lived in Hungary for some time and came home with a new found love of Hungarian food. He even brought my mom a Hungarian cookbook (translated to English of course) so she could test out some native recipes.
This recipe is often confused with Hungarian goulash and in fact is often called Hungarian goulash by mistake. Authentic goulash is a meat and vegetable soup where Pörkölt is thicker, similar in consistency to beef stroganoff, and is served over noodles.
What I LOVE about this recipe:
- Easy– It requires very little prep, simple ingredients, and is super easy to throw together and let it simmer while making your house smell amazing.
- Sweet paprika– this is the ingredient that really shines in this dish. Sweet paprika is Hungarian paprika you can find at the grocery store (or on amazon). If you must substitute regular (hot) paprika, the flavor will change slightly, and you will only need a few teaspoons, rather than Tablespoons. Adjust to taste.
Purchasing Beef for Stew (what to know):
- Save your money! Don’t buy expensive cuts of meat for stew! Cheap, tough cuts of meat are perfect. That’s right, I said tough cuts of meat! The best thing about stew is that it simmers for long periods of time, causing the connective tissue in tougher meat to break down, turning the meat into soft, tender pieces. In contrast, nice tender and marbled meat with become tougher the longer it simmers because the fat will melt into the soup.
- Avoid pre-cut stew meat. This type of packaged meat is put together by the butcher from the odds and ends of different cuts of beef. This means they won’t cook as evenly.
- Choose the right cut of meat. Hit the sale section and look for cuts of meat that come from the shoulder or rear of the cow. My first choice is always chuck: chuck shoulder, chuck roast, top chuck. Or choose a round roast, tump roast, or top top round roast.
How to Make Pörkölt:
1. Sear meat. Season with salt and pepper and place meat pieces in a skillet of hot oil, browning on all sides. *Don’t crowd the meat in the pan or it will steam instead of sear. Set aside.
2. Make Sauce. Cook onions in oil until golden. Return the meat back to the pot, along with tomato sauce, bouillon cubes, water, paprika and vinegar.
3. Simmer. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, until meat is fall apart tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Substitute meat– any kind of meat can be used. Substitute chicken, pork, or other game meat.
- Add vegetables– feel free to add your favorite vegetables during step 2.
- Paprikás – Add additional sour cream and this dish becomes a new hungarian favorite, paprikás!
- Season steak pieces on all sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to a large cast iron pot over medium heat-high heat. Once hot, add steak, in small batches, and brown on all sides. Don’t crowd the meat in the pan or it will steam instead of sear. Set aside the seared steak onto a plate.
- Add a little more oil to the pan, if needed and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook until golden. Return the meat back to the pot, along with tomato sauce, bouillon cubes, water, paprika and vinegar.
- Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, until meat is fall apart tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the sour cream. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, as needed.
- Boil noodles according to package instructions and serve pörkölt over them.
- Substitute meat- any kind of meat can be used. Substitute chicken, pork, or other game meat.
- Add vegetables- feel free to add your favorite vegetables during step 2.
- Paprikás - Add additional sour cream and this dish becomes a new hungarian favorite, paprikás!
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