Hungarian Beef Pörkölt

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06/11/2012 by Mark Leach

Not sure why I had an urge to make this Hungarian dish, or pörkölt, tonight. Perhaps it was seeing some fresh spätzle in the supermarket, crying out for a sauce. Whatever the reason I’m glad I made it because I just tasted it and it is very, very good. Even though I do say so myself!

Here’s how I made it:


500g shin of beef, cut into bite sized pieces

500g onions, finely chopped

Hungarian paprika, about 2 tablespoons

Sunflower, olive or vegetable oil

1 tomato, skin and seeds removed

1 green pepper, sliced

Salt and pepper

250ml beef stock (just enough to cover the meat)

2 tablespoons flour


The onions are the key to this dish – they need to be finely chopped and then cooked for about 25 minutes until they turn slightly mushy. To do this put some sunflower or olive oil into a casserole pan – just enough to cover the base. Heat it on a medium/high heat and add the onions. The important thing is not to let them burn or turn golden. So stir them frequently and when they start to stick to the bottom of the pan add about 50ml of water. Keep cooking them in this way for a total of 25 minutes, adding more water each time they start to stick.

Once the onions have softened you can add the beef. Before you fry it you need to cover it in flour. Put your flour onto a plate, mix in the salt and pepper then roll the beef pieces in the mixture. Shake off any excess flour. Turn the heat up on the onions and add the beef pieces. You need to seal the beef pieces until they’re brown and slightly golden. You can do this in a separate pan if you like, adding the beef to the onions once they’ve browned.

Now turn the heat down to simmer and add the stock – enough to cover the meat – and also add the peppers, tomato and paprika. Give it a good stir to blend the paprika with the sauce. The dish will turn a wonderful orange/red colour. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. If the stock isn’t homemade (I tend to use organic powdered stock) there will probably be salt in the stock anyway, so try not to add too much. You can always add more at the end if you need to.

Now all you have to do is partially cover the pörkölt and leave it to simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half. This should be long enough to tenderise the meat. You might need to add more water during this time as you’re going to want plenty of sauce to cover whatever you’re serving it with.

When it’s done, garnish the pörkölt with sour cream and parsley and serve alongside the spätzle. If you can’t find these, then tagliatelle or rice would work well. Potatoes would also be fine, either roasted or boiled, but I’d slightly crush them with a fork to make them mushy so they’ll absorb the sauce.

Jo étvágyat!


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