Hungarian Beef Pörkölt with Spätzle

If there was ever a meal that left me weak at the knees it’s a good old fashioned Hungarian goulash. When I was in Hungary, I learned that, goulash is actually a soup and goulash, the casserole as I knew it is called Pörkölt. Here’s a recipe for a beef version… It’s fantastic. In Hungary, I was served this with a magical “Crown” of pork fat! I was only occasionally allowed to eat this (due to an ever zealous partner AND expanding waistline – much to my dismay). An actual crescent of pork fat! How fabulous! If only I had been born a Hungarian…


For the pörkölt:
1kg beef steak (cut into medium chunks)
2 medium onions
60g unsalted butter
5 tablespoons olive oil
20g Hungarian paprika (sweet or combination of sweet and hot to your taste)
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 large green capsicum (diced)
1 large tomato (diced)

For the spätzle:
2 cups plain flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of white pepper
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter (or light olive oil)

For the pörkölt:
In a large lidded pan, melt the oil and butter and fry the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the paprika and stir for 30 seconds, add the beef and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 the garlic, caraway and salt. Put the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes stirring regularly. Add water in 1/4 cups if neccessary.
Add the capsicum and tomatoes and remaining garlic and cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve hot. Even better the next day.

For the spätzle:
Seive the flour with the salt and pepper into a large bowl. Gently combine the eggs with the milk then add to the flour. Stir well for form a thick batter.

Bring a large panful of water to a rolling boil. Hold a large colander over the pan and add some of the batter. With a wooden spoon, push the batter through the holes into the water. When the little spätzle float to the top, let them simmer for 30 seconds then fish them out. Add to a bowl and mix well with the butter or oil to stop them sticking together. Repeat the process with the remaining batter mix.

Serve the pörkölt alongside the spätzle. There’s no need for any vegetables – I’m sure the Hungarians don’t even have a word for it.

%d bloggers like this: