Pork-and-Paprika Stew (Leskovaccka Muchkalica)

Name: Anita Pion Selec
Class Year: 1988
Country of Residence: Bosnia Herzegovina

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

This is the Serbian answer to the French comfort stew of ratouille.  Like most Serbian dishes, the focus is MEAT, specifically pork.  This is the ultimate fall comfort food, traditionally eaten in the late summer or fall when peppers are in season.  Thanks to the modern food supply chain, I love it in the winter.  The prep requires some time, but don’t cut out the steps, esp. cutting the onion into thin rings, somehow this makes it work better than just dicing an onion and throwing the pieces in.  This is a specialty from the Serbian town of Leskovac. You can eat this dish anywhere, from fine restaurants to truck stops. (The name of the dish is pronounced MOOCH-kah-leet-sa.)

Pork-and-Paprika Stew (Leskovaccka Muchkalica)

Serves 8- 12 . Takes approx 1.5 – 2 hours.


  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless pork, thinly sliced and cut into long strips about 1/2 inch wide
  • 3 medium onions, cut crosswise thinly and separated into rings
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons hot paprika powder
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 2 serranos, fresh or canned (2 to 3), cut crosswise into small rings
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 large garlic cloves (2 to 3), minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf


Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil together in a large pot. When the oil is very hot, add the pork in batches and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove pork.

Add the remaining butter and oil to the drippings in the pan. When hot, add the onions and cook them over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are soft and golden colored. Sprinkle the flour and paprika powder over the onions and cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and add the pork and the sliced peppers, beef stock, tomato paste, minced garlic, salt, and bay leaf. Stir to mix well. (There will seem to be not enough liquid in the mixture, but don’t panic and add more stock. As the peppers cooks, they will release plenty of moisture.) Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and let the muchkalica simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally.

Serve muchkalica with white rice, a green salad, a side dish of thick Bulgarian-type yogurt, and hot cornbread— all washed down with cold beer or a strong red wine.


Traditional Serbian Recipe


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *