When Jan came back from Disneyland, she asked me to make the crackers she had refused before she had left. Normally, with something like fresh crackers I would serve a “deli-dinner,” a selection of cheeses, cold cuts, and deli-salads. Jan decided that that was not what she wanted, because she had been eating “deli-food” for three days.
She asked for something more substantial. After the success of last week’s Wise Sage Pork Stew, I decided that some kind of pork stew would work. I looked at recipe after recipe and did not find anything that fit the hole in my head.
I finally narrowed it down to a Hungarian pork stew with paprika, but even then none of the recipes seemed right. Finally I took the technique from one recipe, a few ingredients from another, some from a third recipe. The final addition of the sour cream buffers the harshness of the paprika and is quite common in Hungarian dishes.
The Hungarian paprika makes it Hungarian. Porkolt is Hungarian for pork stew. In the end though I do not think this recipe is something you would necessarily find in Hungary.
After Dinner Note: Jan really, really liked this stew. It hit the spot.
Karl’s Hungarian Porkolt (pork stew)
1 large yellow onion
1 cup cabbage
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
2 Tbs. butter
Pinch Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup white wine (or ¼ cup dry sherry)
5 ½-inch thick boneless top loin pork chops, pounded 1/8 inch thin
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Kosher salt
¼ cup flour for dredging
½ cup light sour cream
1. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Dice one half of the onion into a fine dice. Chop the other half coarsely and keep the piles separate.
Tip: The finely diced onion will be cooked for a long time and break down into the sauce. The coarsely chopped onion will be added later, to give the stew a chunky texture.
2. Cut the cabbage, green and red peppers in the same way, half as fine dice and half coarsely chopped and kept separate.
3. Melt the butter in a stew pot and sauté the diced onions with a pinch of salt until they become translucent, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the diced cabbage, green and red peppers and sauté for 3 more minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
5. Add the tomato paste and paprika to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Pull the vegetables to the edges of the pot and add the garlic to the hole in the middle, sauté the garlic for one minute and then mix in the vegetables.
7. Add the chicken broth wine and bring the pot to a boil.
8. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes.
9. Pound the pork chops very thin. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.
Tip: Put each chop into a gallon plastic bag and use a meat pounder to beat them flat. Place the pounded chop on a plate and sprinkle with S&P. Lay the next chop over the first and sprinkle with S&P. The second chop will pick up some of the first’s S&P so you do not have to spice each side. Continue pounding, stacking and seasoning until you have done all of the chops.
10. Dredge the first chop in flour on each side.
11. Put about half an inch of canola oil into a frying pan and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Fry each pork chop until just lightly brown around the edges, about 1-2 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Tip: Lay the fried meat between sheets of paper towel on a plate to drain away excess oil.
12. Continue until you have fried all of the chops and tent with foil.
13. Put the stew in the pot into a standing blender and process until smooth. Return the sauce to the pot and use the white wine to rinse out the blender jar.
14. Add the coarsely chopped onions and cabbage to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.
15. Cut the pork into 1 inch strips and then add them to the pot with the coarsely chopped peppers. Continue to simmer, covered, for 10-20 minutes.
16. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool, covered, for 10 minutes.
17. Stir in the sour cream and serve with Karl’s fresh crackers.