Hungarian Pork Stew – Pörkölt

If you’ve ever travelled to Hungary you are sure to have eaten plenty of this famous dish. Similar to goulash, Hungarian Pork Stew or Pörkölt is thick and hearty with a rich tomatoey sauce, perfect as a winter warmer.

It may sound strange, but I love it when the weather gets colder! I’ve found myself some fantastic books to read, we’ve got plenty of red wine laid in, and there is a delicious pot of Hungarian Pork Stew, or pörkölt bubbling away on the stove, filling the kitchen with richly scented steam.

A bowl of Hungarian Pork Stew, Pörkölt.

What is Pörkölt?

Pörkölt, much like its more famous cousin Goulash, is one of the national dishes of Hungary, a long-simmered pork stew, with plenty of paprika, onion and garlic.

It’s the ideal sort of no-stress cooking for this weather, as it’s mostly about throwing the ingredients in the pot and letting the long, slow cooking do all the work.

This is simple, rustic food, good for keeping the winter chill from your bones.

Are tomatoes in this recipe authentic?

Hungarian cuisine has a long history and as in most of Europe, the recipes have adjusted to include ingredients not available in centuries past.

It’s easy to forget that tomatoes, so central to the kitchens of the continent, have only been in use since the 16th century! Nevertheless, I think they round out the flavour in this dish, so I like to include them.

What to serve with Pörkölt?

In Hungary, there are loads of different types of dumplings that can be served alongside a stew like pörkölt. It’s common though and perfectly tasty to serve a good quality egg pasta (try making it yourself!), rice or potatoes alongside instead.

I like to think that the pleasure of dishes like this is that they are flexible, so use what you have in the kitchen.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I don’t eat pork! Can I use other meat to make this Hungarian Pork stew?

Absolutely. This method of braising works with fairly much anything. Beef is traditional, but chicken thighs would be good as well.

Can I make Hungarian Pork Stew in advance?

Yes! All stews benefit from being cooked and reheated!

Can I make a larger portion to serve more people?

Of course. Simply double or triple the meat as needed and double the sauce ingredients. It is worth cooking the meat in batches before adding the liquid to the pan. Remember that the more liquid there is in the pan, the longer it will take to reduce, so plan extra time and add at least 20 minutes to the end of the cooking time with the lid off.


If you’ve ever travelled to Hungary you are sure to have eaten plenty of this famous dish. Similar to goulash, Hungarian Pork Stew or Pörkölt is thick and hearty with a rich tomatoey sauce, perfect as a winter warmer.

More Delicious Soups and Stews

If you’ve ever travelled to Hungary you are sure to have eaten plenty of this famous dish. Similar to goulash, Hungarian Pork Stew or Pörkölt is thick and hearty with a rich tomatoey sauce, perfect as a winter warmer.

Hungarian Pork Stew – Pörkölt Recipe


Hungarian Pork Stew with noodles.

Hungarian Pork Stew – Pörkölt

If you’ve ever travelled to Hungary you are sure to have eaten plenty of this famous dish. Similar to goulash, Hungarian Pork Stew or Pörkölt is thick and hearty with a rich tomatoey sauce, perfect as a winter warmer.
4.82 from 16 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
 

  • 500 g pork shoulder, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced, use large cloves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 400 g can of tomatoes, chopped
  • 300 ml vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tsp spicy paprika or chilli powder
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • sea salt and black pepper

optional:

  • 2 tsp cornflour / cornstarch

to serve:

  • pasta, rice or potatoes

Instructions
 

  • MARINATE PORK: Season the pork well with salt and pepper, then toss with the onion, garlic and lemon juice, cover and set aside to marinate for 1 hour.
  • BROWN PORK: When the pork has marinated, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven, then brown the pork mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • SIMMER: Add the tomato paste and cook a further 2 minutes, then pour in the tomatoes and vegetable stock. Cover with a tightly fitting lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 40 minutes.
  • ADD SPICES: After 40 minutes, remove the lid and stir through the spices, bay leaf and red pepper and season with salt and black pepper. Cover again and simmer for a further 20-30 minutes.
  • COOK SIDES: Meanwhile cook your pasta, rice or potatoes. When the goulash is cooked, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. If you prefer a thicker sauce, stir the cornflour / cornstarch together with 3 Tbsp of cold water, then stir through the goulash until thickened.

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Nutrition

Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1114mg | Potassium: 1655mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 5083IU | Vitamin C: 135mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 6mg
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Course | Main Course
Cuisine | European
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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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6 Comments

  1. This is a nice recipe but not pörkölt. Pörkölt had no “rich tomatoe sauce” but a paprika sauce. You may add a small chopped up tomatoe but the basis really is the real Hungarian sweet paprikapowder. You make nökedli/galuska to go with it. Made with nothing more than eggs and flower till it forms a thick lint when poured. Put it in a strainer with round holes, hold it above salted boiling water and start stirring the batter till all is in the water. Scoop it out, drain fast in a strainingspoon and put on a plate, ad the pörkölt (without all the weird herbs and spices…) and have a blast. You can make it with beef, pork, pork skin, pork lungs, liver, chicken and goat. Beef is the most expensive one but taste sooooo good! Pörkölt is great for canning. Waterbath method is good enough so make a big batch and fill a cabinet! The nökedli, also named galuska you make fresh when you heat up a jar. 😉

    • Hi Diana! Thank you for your very interesting comment! I love hearing all your advice for this recipe. Beef or lung sounds absolutely delicious, I’ll have to try it! In Bavaria we call Nökedli ‘spätzle’ and you are right, they are very tasty. We always eat them with stews like this. Great idea to make up a few jars of Pörkölt for the cupboard! Thank you so much for sharing all of these ideas. I hope you find some other nice recipes here that you enjoy! J.

  2. Diana is correct about authenticity- my Hungarian mom only used paprika for the sauce. Over the years I have experimented and my preference is to add a large can of all purpose crushed tomatoes but also increasing the amount of paprika by A LOT – a cup or more. Add some corn starch and we get a nice hearty thick sauce. Curious why you add the lemon juice. Also, I never add any herbs and spices other than salt, pepper, paprika and maybe some garlic and onion powders to augment. You can pick up a nice stainless steel spaetzle maker for about $15, well worth it!

    • Hi Pete, great tips! Spaetzle is one of my favourites too, it comes from near the region of Germany that I live in so we eat a lot of it, yum. Thanks for all your fantastic ideas for this dish, definitely sour cream, delicious! J.

  3. One other thing, I also sauté some sliced peppers in with the onion. Typically a red pepper and a couple of cubanelles. Serve over the spaetzle, and don’t forget the sour cream.

4.82 from 16 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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