Make It!: Chicken Paprikash

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Yum!!!
Yum!!!

Food lies at the heart of our bodies and our culture; it is there for celebrations and sustenance. NOMaste features a local fierce foodie each month, in four weekly segments. First, an interview, then a top 10 list, followed by a recipe to share, and finally a food review. This food corner will not just feature local chefs but also restaurateurs, buyers, suppliers — any woman involved in any aspect of the food chain, from farm to food truck. Join us each week as we get to know another Foodie in the city. Part I of this month’s series can be found here, and part II can be found here.


Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken (cut up)
  • 1 bell pepper (green, seeded, chopped
  • 1 large tomato (peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 (14.5-ounce) undrained can chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (sweet or hot)
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)

Directions:

Heat butter in a Dutch oven or large skillet with a lid.

Add onion and sauté over low heat until translucent.

Add chicken pieces and brown lightly on both sides.

Add green pepper, tomato, garlic, and sweet or hot paprika.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in water.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 35 minutes or until chicken is tender (about 20 minutes if using chicken breasts only).

Remove chicken to a heated platter and keep warm by loosely tenting with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream with flour.

Temper the sour cream mixture with some of the pan juices.

Return tempered sour cream mixture to pan and simmer until juices are thickened. Return chicken to pan to rewarm.

Portion into heated bowls or plates, and serve with nokedli, which are similar to German spaetzle, or another type of noodle, or rice.

Note: For a family-style presentation, arrange the paprikash atop a platter of noodles.

Recipe courtesy of TheSpruce.com


This week Aniko gave me a recipe from The Spruce to try. She had originally given me a much harder dish to make, that required a lot more cook time (4-5 hours) but since I have just arrived home from China and am sick with a cold, with both my internal clock and my sinuses all out of whack, so I opted to go with this shorter, simpler recipe. (You will also not be seeing my face devouring this food since I am a haggard mess right now!).

This recipe was incredibly easy. As with most recipes, half the time was just spent on the prep work of cutting up the vegetables and gathering the ingredients. I opted to use chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken since I tend to enjoy white meat better, but I assume it would be just as easy cutting up a whole chicken.

I might have overcooked the chicken while trying to brown both sides, because the meat chunks were so small, so I didn’t need to let it sit and simmer for 20 minutes like the recipe said to — it was more like 5-10 minutes.

I cannot stress how simple this dish was to prepare. With my medicated, stuffy head, I was able to easily, but slowly, get through this with no problems. If served over a plate of noodles or rice like it suggested, this would be a simple dinner to knock out for a few people, no problem. I just ate mine under the covers in my bed because I desperately needed some comfort food.

The flavor was a creamy, rich sauce that smothered everything evenly. The vegetables and chicken worked well together. I wasn’t even sure what each bite specifically contained, since it had a good uniformity to it all, and I was not bothered that I couldn’t differentiate between tomato or pepper, and chicken. It was the definition of comfort food — a hot, creamy stew, that can be served over anything, really, and can be spiced and flavored to suit any palette. I added some salt to mine (I had added none during the cooking process, opting to add it to taste on my plate after) while my husband tried some with a touch of smoked paprika on top.

I will say that one ingredient that shaped the dish was getting some authentic Hungarian paprika from Aniko, which she brings back each year when she visits the motherland. If you used the regular paprika you got from the spice aisle, it will not have the same punch and flavor as mine did. So do yourself a favor, and order some of the real stuff online, that is imported (or if you are lucky enough to get to know Aniko, she might be able to spare a tablespoon or two!).

Give it a whirl and try this classic Hungarian dish yourself — you will not be disappointed. And it’s the season for it! Perfect for a cold Buffalo night.