Sunday, 4 May 2014

Vica Kerekes: Pörkölt, erős paprika and the importance of passion in life.

Few things can bring together people the same way food, and especially "food talk", does. I have been living abroad for about 15 years now and still, whenever i mention my Sardinian and Italian origins, people talk to me about how amazing the food they had in my homeland was, how much they miss good mozzarella or fresh seafood, how great it was to eat dinner in a small Osteria where the local "grandma" was still making handmade pasta.
Food it's a great tool to rely to each other, to understand foreign cultures, to break ice and create new friendships.
My friendship with Vica Kerekes started and grew thanks to our common passion for food. She is a friend of my fiancee and i first met her when, after a photo shoot, they came to the restaurant i previously owned. Vica is Slovak and Hungarian and i lived in Budapest for two years in the past, and there i learned to love Hungarian food. So the talk went soon to the gastronomical subject: of course Italian food, then Hungarian spicy paprika, and then we went on to discuss the quintessential importance of enjoying life and to have passion for what you do, wether is cooking, acting or simply spending time with your friends. 
When this blog started to take shape i threw around the idea of cooking something together and that idea began reality:  Vica came over to meet Elias (my newly born son), have a glass of wine while chatting with my fiancee and, last but not least, cooking one of my favorite Hungarian traditional dishes: a pork and beef Pörkölt with, as she specified when i asked for the ingredients, erős paprika (spicy)!
When i had the Pörkölt in Hungary, it came with a side of Tarhonya, a type of pasta which reminded me of something we have in Sardinia, called Fregula. So we made a sort of Hungarian-Sardinian fusion and while Vica cooked the Pörkölt i made the Fregula with tomatoes and oregano.
The recipe of the Fregula will soon be on. 
The recipe of the amazingly spicy Pörkölt cooked by Vica, a real triumph of the red color, from the many shades of the ingredients to the hair of the gracious guest chef, is written further in this post.

Jò étvàgyat!


  • 40g Mangalica lard
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced

    2/3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 2–3 tbsp ground hot paprika
  • 1.8kg pork steak, diced

    200 g beef, diced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 3 paprika peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced

    8/10 cherry tomatoes

    2/3 glasses red wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour


  1. Heat the lard in a lidded frying pan, add the onion and the garlic and fry for five minutes, or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika, adding more or less to taste. Add the pork and the beef and a splash of red wine. Simmer over a low heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add enough boiled water to cover the meat, bring back to the boil and add the tomato purée, paprika peppers and tomatoes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer for 1 and a half hour or until the meat is tender.
  3. To thicken the sauce, mix the cornflour and two tablespoons of cold water to form a paste, then stir into the stew. Bring to the boil again to thicken. Check the seasoning, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

1 comment:

  1. Portland, OR (USA) where I live is where people can act on their urges to serve each other food. "Viking Soul Food"? They have it here -- at a food cart. Lebanese? Check. Mexican, from-Mexico with a lifelong love of food cultivated by his family and which he nurtured and wanted to bring to America? Check. A local fast-food place, Burgerville, that uses only local ingredients and shifts its fare seasonally during the year? Check. Plus a lox-with-cream cheese omelet, since they're salmon all over the place. What can I say. Glad to see you're eating well -- and sharing fine -- across the pond! Why can't we all just get along.