Week 72: Porkholt / Perka

So this week when it came to choosing a new recipe to cook all my wild ideas of reaching for Madha Jaffery or the Wagamama’s book were hampered by my lover having a massive stomach ache, which was caused by lashings of gin.  “Maaaaake Steeeew” he whined from under a blanket, with his bottom lip trembling and big puppy dog eyes. So I did.


Porkolt should have umlauts over both o’s, but I’m not sure how to do that.   It is a Hungarian meat stew, which was originally made over an open fire; but they frown on that sort of thing in Hammersmith.  It’s usually made with pork, but it can also be made with chicken, veal or beef.  I made it with beef.

This recipe is from the blue Hairy Bikers book, so naturally it feeds an army.  In this case, 8-10.  I halved all the quantities and still froze half.  To make this for 8 – 10 you will need: 40g lard, 1 large onion, 2 – 3 tsp paprika, 1.8kg pork (or alternative) steak, 1 tsp tomato puree, 1 green pepper, 3 medium tomatoes and 1 tbsp cornflour.

Firstly, thinly slice your onion and green pepper, slice your tomatoes and dice your meat.  Then in a large frying pan with a lid, or a large wide heavy bottomed pan with a lid, heat the lard and fry the onion until it is soft.  This is the exact moment when you realise exactly why the Hungarian’s cook it outdoors; it made my whole flat smell like my gym bag.


When the onion is soft take the pan off the heat and stir in the paprika.  Add the diced meat with a little boiling water and let it simmer for 5 minutes to brown the meat and seal in the flavour.  I went slightly wrong here and added far too much boiling water.


After 5 minutes add enough boiling water to cover the meat and add the tomatoes puree, sliced tomatoes, peppers, and salt’n’pepper to taste and bring the pan to the boil.


Lower the heat and simmer for an hour until the meat is tender – put the lid on the pan so it doesn’t dry out.  After an hour check the meat, then make a paste with the cornflour and some cold water.  Stir this paste into the stew and bring it back to the boil to thicken it up.  Serve with mash.


I didn’t quite get the cornflour bit right, I think I added too much water so the cornflour didn’t seem to do much, so I sprinkled a load more in which just formed clumps which I tried to stir in but ended up picking out.  One top tip I have for this is to peel the tomatoes.  After an hour of simmering etc the tomato itself breaks down into red sauce, but the hoops of skin just turn into random read string.


I liked it, although making it with bee instead of pork pretty much just made goulash, it tasted a lot like the other goulash I made, but this one was much easier to make.  It wasn’t too spicy, and the meat was really tender and perfect for a cold February afternoon – definitely one to make again!

The Hairy Bikers’ Family Cookbook Mums Still Know Best (by Si King & Dave Myres Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN: 978 1 4072 3380 2)

mums still know best


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