"For Paprikas or Chicken paprikas, see Goulash"

Pörkölt ( _sk. Perkelt) is a dish which originates from Hungary, but is eaten throughout Central Europe and the Balkans.

In Hungary

Pörkölt is a Hungarian stew with boneless meat, paprika, some vegetables and no potato. It should not be confused with "Goulash", a stew with more gravy or a soup (using meat with bones, paprika, caraway, vegetables and potato or different tiny dumplings or pasta simmered along with the meat), or "Paprikas" (using only meat, paprika and thick heavy sour cream).

There are different pörkölt variations from region to region. In most parts of Hungary "pörkölt" is made with beef or pork. "Pörkölt" derives from the Hungarian verb "pörkölni" which means "to roast" or "to simmer". Pörkölt is made of meat, onion, and sweet paprika powder. bell peppers, tomatoes or tomato paste, green pepper and garlic are common additions to the basic recipe. Any kinds of meat can be used when making pörkölt. Most common are beef, lamb, chicken and pork, but game, tripe and liver can also be used. A popular meal in traditional Hungarian cuisine is a "pörkölt" made of tripe, called "pacalpörkölt". ("Pacal" is the Hungarian word for tripe). It has a unique and very distinguishable taste from other kinds of "pörkölt", often being quite spicy.

Much of the quality of a pot of "pörkölt" is found in the use of the very few ingredients. The spiciness and the taste of the paprika powder used is very important to the taste. A simple Hungarian trick for making good "pörkölt" is first frying the onions in lard or oil, before making anything else. Then set aside the pot and immediately add paprika powder and the meat and "stir-fry" - (this is the origin of the word "pörkölni" - to roast). This way the juices are kept inside. Water is added, the same volume as the meat. "Pörkölt" should be simmered slowly in very little liquid. Flour should never be used to thicken a Hungarian pörkölt. In Hungary "pörkölt" is served with pasta ("tészta"), "tarhonya" (big Hungarian pasta grains) or "galuska/nokedli" as a side dish. Boiled potato is also a common garnish, and pickles go with the dish nicely counterbalancing the heavy stew with a touch of sour.


There is a different style Hungarian pörkölt, "tokány", a Transylvanian pörkölt stew that doesn't emphasize the use of paprika. These are stews using spices and herbs instead, often made with mixed meats and wild mushrooms. The meat in the "tokány" is cut into thin long slices, not cubed.

Outside Hungary

In the Czech Republic pörkölt is made successfully with beer, dark bread and caraway. Often large Czech "knedlíky" dumplings are served with it. In Slovakia the dish is called "perkelt" and is served with Halušky dumplings.

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