Polish Goulash (Pork Stew) with Mushrooms

Gulasz Wieprzowy

This Polish-style Pork Goulash is the culinary equivalent of a warm hug. And while it can be pulled off on a busy weeknight, it’s best saved for the slow, lazy weekend.

I love when it just slowly simmers in the background, filling the home with amazing, meaty aromas… it just smells like home. With soft & tender pork shoulder (ham or loin), enriched with carrots, smoky bacon and umami-packed mushrooms… this stew is just dreamy!

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

Polish ‘Gulasz’ (pron.: goulash) is a general term for a stew of meat and/or vegetables. Sometimes the ingredients are cut into smaller pieces, resembling a French ragout.

And while ‘Gulasz’ sounds a lot like the Hungarian ‘Gulyás’, the Magyar original is a very different beast. In fact, it’s soup! Polish ‘Gulasz’ is much closer to what the Hungarians call ‘Pörkölt’ or ‘Tokány’.

The very first Polish goulash recipes were quite close to the Hungarian original. With time, they evolved into a stew, often thickened with flour. Sometime in the 1950’s, a pork version became synonymous with an affordable, unsophisticated meal – the kind that’s served in canteens, roadside bars and other budget-friendly eateries. 

And while it’s not a fancy meal, it definitely delivers on flavour. Pick a nice piece of pork and your dinner is sorted!

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Polish Goulash?

In general – no. All of the ingredients should be easily accessible in any major food store.

Ingredients for Polish-style Pork Goulash (Gulasz)

Meat-wise, this Polish-style Pork Gulasz is most commonly prepared with either pork shoulder or a piece of leg / ham. These pork cuts are quite lean, and sometimes they tend to be overly dry. That’s why we’re adding some bacon here too.

Goulash can be also made with slightly fatter cuts, such as pork neck for example. But please be aware that it will make this Goulash heavier and harder to digest – in this scenario, you can skip the bacon.

Equipment-wise, you’ll need a deep skillet/frying pan and a casserole dish (cast iron works well here). Gulasz can be cooked on the stove, or in the oven (personally, I prefer the latter).

What should you serve with this Polish Pork Stew?

Gulasz tastes best with buckwheat, barley or some mashed potatoes. Such a stew pairs beautifully with these classic Polish-style Potato Pancakes as well.

As a side, I would suggest a few crunchy half-sour or full-sour pickles, or some fried grated beetroots.

Drink-wise, there’s nothing better than a glass of Polish beer.

Can you make this Polish Goulash another way?

Sure! You can:

  • Swap the beer for more unsalted chicken stock (side note: you don’t have to worry about the alcohol content here – it tenderizes the meat, but then evaporates completely during the cooking process.)
  • Swap pork for another meat, such as beef, turkey or venison. With game meat, I find you’ll need a bit more time in the oven to get it nice & soft.
  • Swap potato and all-purpose flour for cornstarch.
  • Cook it in a slow cooker / crockpot on LOW for 7-8 hours.

What diets is this Polish Pork Stew suitable for?

This Gulasz is suitable for a traditional diet. 

To make this dish gluten-free, you can thicken it at the very end with cornstarch or potato flour (instead of the all-purpose flour). 

To make it dairy-free, just skip the butter and add a touch of olive oil instead.

How long can you keep this Polish Goulash in the fridge?

Once you’ve served it, ideally you should eat it within 4 hours.

If you allow any leftovers to cool, you can refrigerate them in a container with a lid. You can keep goulash leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or so.

Can I freeze this Goulash?

Yes, you can! From my experience, this recipe freezes very well. It’s great for those busy weekday evenings, when you’re hungry but too tired to cook.

Freeze this stew as soon as it is cold enough to do so. Use a freezer-friendly container or a ziplock bag. Label it with a description and a date. Aim to consume within 3 months.

How do I reheat this Pork Stew?

From chilled: Reheat it in a deep skillet/frying pan (or a casserole dish) on a medium heat, stirring frequently. If it’s too thick and starts to stick to the pan, add some water or stock. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until hot throughout.

Alternatively, place it in a microwave-proof container with loosely fitting lid and heat for 4-7 minutes until hot throughout.

From frozen: Allow to thaw thoroughly, then as above. Before serving, make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through.

Smacznego!

Polish Gulasz (Goulash): Pork Stew
Polish goulash - Gulasz

Polish Goulash (Pork Stew) with Mushrooms

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-2.2 lb (900 g -1 kg) pork shoulder, loin, leg/ham
  • 1 medium yellow onion (roughly 0.35 lb, 160 g)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp lard, can sub with canola or olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches ground black pepper
  • 7 oz (200 g) smoked bacon
  • 3 all-spice berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • ½ tsp spicy paprika powder, or chili powder
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 cups (470-500 ml) beer (ale, lager, hard cider)
  • 1 cup (235-250 ml) chicken or vegetable stock, unsalted
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 200 g fresh wild mushrooms, can sub with chestnut / white mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp potato flour, can sub with all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Cut the meat into chunks, roughly 0.6-0.7 inch (1.5-1.8 cm) cubes. 
  2. Peel the onion and dice it finely. Peel the garlic cloves, chop them roughly.
  3. Drop two tablespoons of lard into a deep skillet/frying pan, and melt it on a medium heat.
  4. Add diced onions and fry for 5-7 minutes until it turns translucent, stirring from time to time.
  5. Add in the garlic and the meat, season it generously with salt and ground black pepper. Fry on a high heat until every piece turns golden - don’t worry about the meat still being raw inside, it will cook through later on.
  6. Move the contents of the skillet into a casserole dish (if choosing to continue in the oven) or into a wide cooking pot (if continuing on the stove) - but don’t wash the skillet/frying pan just yet!
  7. Slice the bacon into small pieces and drop them into the skillet/frying pan. Add in all-spice berries, bay leaves, smoked paprika, spicy paprika and dried marjoram. Fry for a few minutes, stirring continuously, until bacon renders some of its fat and starts to turn golden. 
  8. Pour the beer into the skillet, turn up the heat and bring it to a near-boil. Then, transfer the contents of the skillet into the casserole dish.
  9. Pour the chicken stock in and cover the dish with a lid. Cook on the stove for 1,5 hours on a medium-low, or place in the oven, preheated to 320°F (160°C).
  10. When the time is up, peel the carrots and slice them into rounds or half-moons. Slice the mushrooms as well, and set them aside. 
  11. Take the casserole dish out of the oven and carefully remove the lid. Drop in the carrots, sliced mushrooms, tomato concentrate and butter. Stir everything together, cover the dish with the lid and return it into the oven (or place back on the stove).
  12. Continue cooking/baking for an additional hour, until the meat turns tender.
  13. To thicken the goulash, sift both flours directly into the casserole dish, stir it in and bring to boil. 
  14. Before serving, have a taste - season with more salt if necessary.
  15. Serve hot with sides of your choice (see suggestions in the post above).
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 576Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 1078mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 30g

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Kasia Kronenberger

Kasia is the founder of Polonist, where she celebrates Poland’s very best food.
She’s a self-taught home cook, who – through her own culinary attempts – wants to show you how to recreate Polish flavours at home, wherever that is.
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