May 03, 2011

Pork Paprikash

When most Americans think of Hungarian cooking, one of two dishes probably comes to mind:  Goulash or Chicken Paprikash.  Awhile back, we published our own variant on the latter - Paprika Chicken and Dumplings.  The traditional version of this dish - stewed chicken in a savory sauce of paprika and sour cream served over hot, buttered noodles - is only the most familiar (to Americans, anyhow) one of several similar recipes, featuring stewed meat, paprika and sour cream and served over noodles.  Recently I made my spin on another dish from that same tradition:  Pork Paprikash.

Traditionally, Pork Paprikash is usually made with pork shoulder or other, relatively tough cuts rendered tender by long stewing, but because I wanted to make something fast enough for a weeknight dinner, I used pork tenderloin.  Other than that, the technique is pretty standard for this dish:  Seasoned meat is seared in a hot pot then set aside, onions are browned in the same pot before the pork is returned to the pot along with more seasonings, tomatoes and some broth or water, the whole is simmered for a bit, some sour cream is stirred in and the result is served up over hot, buttery noodles. 

Unsurprisingly, the result was pretty good.  There is, after all, a reason this dish is a classic.  The chunks of pork were both tender and flavorful, thanks to generous seasoning, while the sauce was tangy and savory and just plain delicious.  Definitely a keeper!

Pork Paprikash

yield = 6 servings

3            pounds pork tenderloin (excess fat and silverskin
              removed), sliced into bite-size cubes
4            tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1            teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2         teaspoon table salt
3            tablespoons olive oil
1            large onion, minced
2            teaspoons minced garlic
1            can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1/2         cup low-sodium chicken broth
1            pound egg noodles
2            tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices
1            cup sour cream
3            tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork with 2 tablespoons paprika, salt and pepper.   Add two tablespoons olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add half of the the pork and cook, tossing occasionally, until it is lightly browned on all sides (abut 5 minutes).  Transfer to a clean bowl or plate, then repeat with the rest of the pork.

Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in the Dutch oven.  Add the onion and cook until it has started to brown (about 7 minutes).  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then return pork to the Dutch oven. 

Add remaining two tablespoons paprika, tomatoes with juice and chicken broth.  Use the edge of a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened.  Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles in the boiling water.  Drain the cooked noodles and transfer to a serving bowl.  Stir in the butter and parsley.

Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Stir in sour cream.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper then serve the pork mixture over the noodles.

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