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Hungarian Beef Paprika Stew - Marha Pörkölt

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

This is one of the dishes I grew up eating. It is cubes of beef simmered with paprika, peppers, caraway seeds, and onions. The result is a deliciously, savory stew where all of the flavors have come together. My mom would make this stew which always tasted so good to me. When my older son started college he always requested Hungarian food when he came home. So now we have Marha Pörkölt the night before Thanksgiving. I serve it with homemade Hungarian dumplings known as Nokedli and cucumber salad which pretty much makes the meal perfect.

Ingredients for Marha Pörkölt:

* This recipe makes a lot of stew. I think it can feed around 10 people generously, especially if you serve it with dumplings. I always make a lot so Ethan can take some back to school. Feel free to half the recipe.

6 pounds chuck, cut in pieces around 1 1/2 " cubes

5 - 6 large onions

1 - 28 ounce can tomatoes, drained and diced

4 cubanelle peppers, halved, seeded and cut into large dice

6 cloves garlic, minced

9 tablespoons of Hungarian paprika (yes, 9!)

1 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoons caraway seeds

2 1/2 cup beef broth

2 1/2 cups water

canola oil

Kosher salt


If possible use Hungarian paprika it does taste different. It can be found in most supermarkets.

Time-Saving Tip: The stew can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. Then reheat in the oven at 325- degrees.

Let's see what we need.

Time to cook.

While it' not customary to brown the stew meat for this dish I still like to do it a little. I think it adds some flavor to the finished product. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large pot and then add a single layer of meat and season with salt and pepper. With so much stew meat the meat needs to be lightly browned in batches. Add a little oil if necessary in between batches. Do not make it crusty all over just a little brown. Once all the meat is browned transfer all of it to a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees.

The bottom of the pot will have some good stuff stuck to it. Add two tablespoon of oil and the onions. Saute on low heat about 10 minutes scraping up the bottom of the pot to loosen the remnants of browning. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or until fragrant.

Return the meat to the pot and add the paprika, caraway seeds, broth, water, and tomatoes. Give it a stir. Add the cut up peppers, stir, and them bring the stew to a simmer. Once it is simmering very carefully transfer it to the oven. Braise for about 2 hours or until tender. Start checking the meat at 1 1/2 hours.

It's ready! This is delicious. The paprika not only gives this stew a beautiful color and flavor it is the heartbeat of Hungarian cooking. I hope you give this a try. You will be so happy that you did. This is best served with Nokedli but egg noodles is a good substitute.



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