Porkolt is a hearty, flavorful meat dish which can be made with pork, veal, or beef. Each has a unique quality and flavor.
It is wonderful served over parslied potatoes.
This recipe will be for the pork version. For the veal and beef, I will give the minor variations below.
2 or 3 pounds of meat, veal, pork, or beef
suggested cuts are for veal, a veal shoulder roast, pork shoulder, and beef chuck steak.
finely chopped onions, about 1 large onion per pound of meat
2 TBS marjoram
2 tsp salt (you can adjust the salt at the end)
pinch Hungarian hot paprika
2 or 3 slices from a bell pepper
a good red wine if using beef
As in all good Hungarian cooking, begin by sauteeing onions. Depending on the amount of meat, I usually eye-ball the mass of meat, and then choose onions that match the mass.
It kind of boils down to about 1 large onion per pound of meat. Chop the onions to a fine chop. I always use my food processor on the pulse mode, about 12-15 pulses. I like the onions chopped
very fine, but not letting it get to a mush. You may need to fill the bowl two or three times and then chop. It is still much faster than chopping by hand, not to mention, more evenly chopped.
Prepare the meat by cutting it into bite sized cubes, roughly just under 1 inch in size. The meat needs no other preparation.
In a large cooking pot, add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or enough to just barely cover the bottom, heat on medium heat and add the chopped onion. This next step is the secret to achieving the perfect
sauce, which is the jewel of this dish. Sautee the onions on med/high, stirring frequently. Do not let them brown. When they begin to stick to the pan, add about 1/4 cup water, and stir. Repeat this process for
about 20-25 minutes. This is the base of the sauce and and so avoid hurrying this step. My father used to take about 35 minutes slowly stirring the onions. He was the master of porkolt! He always said this was the
most important step.
When the onion has really become soft, it is time to begin "porkoling" the meat! This virtually means searing on high heat. Turn the heat to high, and when you can hear, the onion sizzling, add the cubed meat to the onion.
Stir completely and constantly for about 3-4 minutes. Let the meat have a chance to sear, then stir, then sear, then stir, just don't let it burn. This is what tenderizes the meat and gives it the "porkolt" flavor. Once you are bored with this,
you can turn the heat down to a very slow simmer. Add enough water to cover the meat. Add the bell pepper. Then add the paprika. I use a teaspoon and add until the liquid is a gorgeous red. Add the marjoram and salt.
Let this simmer with a lid on the pot, slightly ajar,so the steam can vent. Stir occasionally. Add more liquid if needed. Cook until the meat is tender. This may take up to an hour. There should be plenty of sauce on the meat.
Add liquid as necessary. When the meat is tender, adjust seasonings, especially salt. If you like a bit of a kick, add the hot paprika to taste. Serve over parslied potatoes, or Hungarian dumplings (nokedli). Actually, when I have no time to
make nokedli, I use the wide noodles that are available in most markets. A great accompaniment to this is Hungarian cucumber salad.