So this one is a fine cold-weather meal, but I should issue a disclaimer. Whenever I talk patent law on the blog, I always note that I Am Not a Lawyer, so this time I should note that I Am Not a Hungarian. I’ve had several Hungarian friends over the years, and I’ve spend a little time in Budapest itself. Admittedly, that was many years ago – I actually gate-crashed the press gallery bleachers at the funeral of János Kádár, and when I reported this to a Hungarian guy I knew from grad school, his reaction was “Gee, I always wanted to attend that funeral myself. . .”
But I digress. This is an adaptation of a Craig Claiborne recipe, so it may or may not be what Grandma made back in Szeged. But it seems to do a pretty good job:
2 Tb butter (28g)
1/2 cup chopped onions (opinions vary, but that’s probably about 75g)
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons paprika (about 14g). I use “Pride of Szeged” brand, but what you definitely don’t want to use here is Spanish smoked paprika. It has its own attractions, but not in this dish. Update: you need sweet paprika, not hot.
1 teaspoon salt (6g of table salt)
1 medium-to-large tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock (about 175 mL)
1 3-pound chicken (1350g or so), cut up into pieces
1/4 cup flour (30g)
1/4 cup light cream (60 mL)
1/2 cup sour cream (about 115 grams)
Noodles or rice (optional)
Melt the butter in a good-sized pan (everything else in going in on top of it, and you’ll need to cover it later on). Saute the onions and garlic until they start to take on some color, then add the paprika, salt, tomato, peppers, and the chicken stock. Cover this and simmer for about ten minutes.
Add the chicken parts, cover and cook until the meat is tender (probably around 40 minutes). At this point you’ll probably want to remove the skin from the breast and thigh pieces, and you may want to remove the chicken pieces entirely for the next step. If the liquid level looks like it’s not going to make 1 1/5 cups (c. 350 mL), then add some more stock or water.
Blend the flour and light cream in a separate cup until smooth, then add some of the hot broth to this mixture and mix this up together. Add this to the pan, and stir it while cooking until it starts to thicken. At this point, add the sour cream, making sure that you’re not boiling/simmering, or it’ll almost certainly separate. Mix this into the sauce, check the seasonings, and then return the chicken parts to the pan. You’re done!
Many Hungarians serve this sort of thing over cooked wide egg noodles, and I like it that way myself. Rice will work just fine, too. I once took some of the leftover sauce and added some dried dill to it, which turned it into something completely different (and certainly non-Hungarian) but was very tasty, so feel free to experiment.