Hungarian Beef Stew with Smoked Paprika Instead

Hungarian Beef Stew Recipe

As many of you might have guessed, I am Hungarian descent and married to a Hungarian man. We have a home in downtown Budapest and we love connecting with our heritage through the flavours of home. Hungarian paprika which we put in everything, Hungarian vegeta which is a soup base that reminds me of my family, hot pepper pastes to put on and in things, pickles peppers to eat on the side, and palinka & wines from Hungary to accompany the meal. The subtle flavours of my home is what I grew up with, but you can turn up the heat by adding small peppers in a variety of forms. Meat, bread, homemade dumplings, hearty soups, fried meats, roasted meats, spicy sausage. I love them all.

A staple in every Hungarian home is the stew. Comforting, hearty, warm, rich and always better the next day!

Traditional Hungarian beef stew, or Marha Pökölt is made the same as most pörkölt or paprikas recipes, but I decided to try something a little different and used smoked Hungarian paprika in place of traditional mild paprika and added mushrooms.

I served this with jasmine rice and a sweet and sour lettuce, both are traditional. Once you add sour cream to any Hungarian pörkölt recipe, the name changes to paprikas pronounced paprikash!

Sweet and Sour Iceberg Salad


  • 1 round head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons vinegar


  1. Separate and wash lettuce leaves. Place in large bowl.
  2.  In a separate bowl, mix water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. The mixture can be adjusted a bit according to your taste.
  3. Pour over lettuce. Use your hands to mix the lettuce well with the liquid.
  4. Let sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate.

NOTE: The salad tastes better after a day of sitting in the refrigerator.

Hungarian Beef Paprika


  • 500 grams stewing beef trimmed and cubed
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1-2 tomatoes quartered
  • 1 bell pepper large quartered
  • 2 tbsp paprika (smoked or mild)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 250-500 grams sour cream or crème fraîche (depending on diet and taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter


  1. Heat oil or butter and brown your onions until golden brown
  2. Add in your garlic, tomatoes and bell pepper and sauté
  3. Add in your paprika, salt and pepper and mix well
  4. Add in your meat, mix and warm through
  5. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover on medium-low for 1-2 hours, adding a little water when you check on it to make sure there is enough for the sauce

Garnish with fresh parsley

 NOTE: If you want to add sour cream, bring the stew to a full boil , add in the sour cream mixing continuously, and turn it off. It is now done.

If you want to add mushrooms, once the beef is soft and tender, add the mushrooms to the top and cook another 10 minutes. Add in sour cream after this if you wish for both in your stew.

Serve over rice, pasta, potatoes or nokedli. If you like it hot, add chili flakes or Eros Pista (traditional Hungarian hot pepper paste) to your plate. Delicious!

Conclusion; In our home we make Hungarian paprika stews often and this variation gives an added flare to a classic recipe.

Marha Porkolt recipe
Hungarian beef stew ingredients

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