One-Pot Wonders

Anyu's Pörkölt

December 20, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6 with leftovers
Author Notes

Everyone called my maternal grandmother 'Anyu'--the Hungarian word for 'Mom.' She was a fabulous cook, her skills honed first as the eldest daughter in a motherless household, and later in the restaurant she and my grandfather owned.
This rich, meaty stew was often served as a special birthday dinner, accompanied by rice and a green salad tossed with an Austrian-style sweet-and-sour vinaigrette. And of course, followed by some variety of torte, depending on how the spirit moved her. We honor her memory every time I make this dish.
Pörkölt is delicious on the day it's made, but my family believe it's even better on the second or third day, when the flavors have had time to mingle. It also freezes well. —Windischgirl

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds Boneless stew meat; Anyu would use some combination of beef and pork
  • 1 Medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 Small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika, or to taste
  • 1 Green pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced into julienne strips
  • 1 Medium tomato, cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Caraway seed, lightly crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim the meat and cut into 1-inch cubes. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Brown the meat in batches, removing each batch to a plate before adding the next batch; the meat will not be cooked through. Add additional oil as needed.
  2. Once the meat is browned, add a bit more oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and pepper with a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat as you want the vegetables to soften but not brown.
  3. When the vegetables are soft, stir in the paprikas and caraway and heat to release the flavors. This only takes 30 seconds, as paprika burns easily. Add the tomatoes all at once, then the browned meat with whatever juices have collected on the plate.
  4. Stir well to combine. Add 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, stir, then cover tightly. Turn the heat to low and let the pörkölt simmer slowly. Stir occasionally; if the stew seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water. Let it cook for 45-60 minutes, or until the meat is tender, and the vegetables have cooked down into a sauce.
  5. Pörkölt is best made a day or two in advance, and then gently reheated to serve. Spoon it over steamed rice or spatzle.
  6. Note: I have successfully doubled and tripled the recipe to cook in a slow cooker. The sauce will be thinner, but can be thickened with a beurre manie, or else simmered on the stovetop to concentrate, once the meat has been removed. The thickened sauce can then be added back to the meat for its R&R in the fridge. Pörkölt also freezes well.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Annie stader
    Annie stader
  • Windischgirl

2 Reviews

Annie S. December 20, 2014
Thank you for sharing your family dish. I will make this soon and I will toast to a Mother's love and hard work! P.S. I love paprika!
Windischgirl December 20, 2014
Annie, thank you for your good thoughts. Anyu passed away on Dec 19th 27 years ago, but she is still very much alive in our hearts. I think she looks over my shoulder and tells me to add more paprika!