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Pörkölt (Slovak: Perkelt, Serbian-Croatian: Paprikaš, Romanan: Papricaş) is a hot dish which originates in Hungary and Balkans. Pörkölt is essentially a stew which is very closely related to the Hungarian dish Gulyás. Hence Gulyás is a soup and Pörkölt is a similar stew. Both has the use of much paprika powder in common. In most countries outside Hungary, where there are local varieties of pörkölt, for example in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, Pörkölt is almost always served under the name Gulyás, hence the confusion between the two dishes. Because of that Pörkölt is mostly served as Goulash outside Hungary in international restaurants.

Pörkölt is almost always made of meat, onion, capsicum and paprika powder. Any kinds of meat can be used when making pörkölt. Most common are lean beef, lamb, chicken and pork, but intestines (or tripe) and liver can also be used, or even fish.

A popular meal in traditional Hungarian cuisine is a pörkölt made of tripe, called Pacal or Pacalpörkölt. (Pacal is also the Hungarian word for tripe). It has a unique and very distinguishable taste from other kinds of pörkölt, often being quite spicy.

Much of the quality of a pot of Pörkölt is found in the best use of the very few ingridients. The spiciness and the taste of the kind of paprika powder used is very important to the taste. A simple Hungarian trick in making good Pörkölt is first frying the onions in pork fat or oil in the pot before making anything else, and then quickly set aside the pot and immediately add a large quantity of paprika powder and then add the meat and any liquid. Garlic can also be added, but is used carefully in Pörkölt. Pörkölt should be simmered slowly in very little liquid. But it shouldn't be dry.

If thick sour cream is added to Pörkölt it will become what the Hungarians call a Paprikás When making Paprikás, only light meat like chicken, veal or pork is used.

There are other Hungarian stews that doesn't emphasize that much on the use of paprika powder. These are mostly called Tokány and in these stews, other spices like herbs yield the flavour.

In Hungary Pörkölt is almost always served with any kind of dumpling, tarhonya (pasta grains), galuska or nokedli (small dumplings - Halušky in Slovakia) or other kinds of pasta (tészta).

In the Czech republic pörkölt is made successfully with beer, dark bread and caraway. Often large Czech knedlíky dumplings are served with it. In Slovakia the dish is called "Perkelt" and is served with Halušky.




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