Porkolt is a beautiful Hungarian casserole of tender veal cooked with paprika and garlic. Beef can be used instead (cuts such as chuck steak or gravy beef), as can pork (neck or leg). Traditionally this recipe is served with nokedli – quick homemade pasta served with lashings of butter.
- 1.5 kg long cucumbers, peeled and finely sliced
- 2½ tbsp white vinegar
- 80 g sugar
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- paprika (optional)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 100 ml oil
- 20 g sweet paprika
- 200 ml stock or water
- 1.4 kg veal leg or shoulder, diced into 2 cm cubes
- 5 g salt
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp hot paprika paste (eros pista)
- 3 banana chillies (mild Hungarian capsicums), roughly chopped
- 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
- 20 g salt
- 4 eggs
- 650 ml water
- 800 g plain flour
- butter or oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 2 hours (optional)
To make the cucumber salad, mix the ingredients other than the paprika in a bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours for the flavours to develop. Sprinkle with paprika before serving, if using; it will not change the taste but make the dish more attractive.
To make the porkolt, sauté the onion in the oil until golden. Remove from the heat and add the paprika (removing from the heat ensures the colour and flavour is released without burning). Stir for a minute then add the stock or water and return to the heat. Simmer until slightly reduced. Add the meat, salt, garlic and paprika paste and stir well. Simmer until the meat is halfway tender (30–60 minutes depending on the meat). Add the banana chilli and tomato and continue to cook until the meat is tender. Taste for seasoning.
While the porkolt is cooking, make the nokedli. Bring a large pot (5 litres) of water to the boil and add the 20 g of salt. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the water. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and lightly mix in the egg and water. (Be careful not to over-mix, which will make the dough unworkable.) Push the dough through a nokedli maker or spatzle press into the boiling water. Cook until the nokedli rise to the surface then remove with a slotted spoon. Toss in butter or oil.
Serve the porkolt on the nokedli alongside the cucumber salad.