Ingredients

  • 2 pounds young veal, cut from the leg or leaner part of the breast and shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons lard (amount depends on fattiness of meat)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped and mashed (optional)
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium-sized very ripe tomato, or 2 drained canned Italian tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper, cored and diced

Method

  1. Cut the veal into 1-inch dice.
  2. Melt the lard in a heavy stewing casserole or Dutch oven and fry onion till it is light brown.
  3. Remove from heat and mix in paprika, garlic (if used), salt and veal. Cover, and start cooking over very low heat.
  4. The simple but tricky secret of this dish is to let the meat cook in the steam from its own juices and the juices of the onion. Just before the stew starts burning, add a few tablespoons of water; repeat this during the first 10 minutes of cooking whenever liquid evaporates.
  5. Meantime, blanch tomato, peel, and dice.
  6. When meat is beginning to get soft, in 10 to 15 minutes, add tomato and green pepper. Cook for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the age of the veal. Continue to add water bit by bit whenever the moisture evaporates.
  7. When meat is done, let the liquid reduce as much as possible without burning it. At that point you should have a rich dark red and gold sauce-gravy, neither too thin nor too heavy, somewhat like a good American beef stew, but the texture must be achieved without any thickening.
  8. Serve with Little Dumplings, Baked Egg Barley, or rice.

Variation

I. Try this dish once without adding any tomato.

II. To make veal paprikás, reduce paprika to ½ tablespoon and use a small onion and no garlic. When meat is almost done, let the liquid evaporate so the meat is seared in remaining fat. Mix 1 cup sour cream with 1 tablespoon flour and stir into stew. Cook covered over very, very low heat until the meat is cooked. This dish should have a much milder, gentler taste than pörkölt, almost like a feminine version of it.

III. Use any red meat, including game, for pörkölt or paprikas made according to this recipe.

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