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Recipe Blogging: Chicken Paprikash

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.

13 comments on “Recipe Blogging: Chicken Paprikash”

  1. Sam Adams the Dog says:

    @Derek: Paprika: Hot or sweet?

    1. Patrick says:

      A quick Google search shows Hungarian paprika in general and the specific brand Derek named to be sweet, not hot.

      1. Sam Adams the Dog says:

        @Patrick: Pride of Szeged comes in two styles, hot and sweet. I have both in my cupboard. My best guess is that this recipe indeed would be best with sweet.

      2. David Antonini says:

        Been making this occasionally for a couple of years now. On a whim tried the hot Szeged last time instead of the sweet…melts your face… Might turn out better if you halve or quarter the amount of paprika when using the hot, but I’ve not been game to carry out that experiment yet.

  2. Nick K says:

    Don’t forget to serve with lots of sour cream!

    It’s great to see Magyar Konyha getting some attention. How about a recipe for Rakottkrumpli next time?

  3. gippgig says:

    It states to blend the flour and cream but later says to add the sour cream. Should that be “Blend the flour and light cream…”?

    1. The says:

      Undoubtedly. Flour simply would not blend evenly into sour cream, when the objective is a lumpless additive to thicken the sauce.

  4. milkshaken says:

    Regarding the Kadar’s funeral: “Comrade, why did you miss the last Political Education Meeting?”
    “Oh I am sorry – If I knew it was gonna be the last one, I would have come, with my whole family.”

  5. Phil says:

    Chicken paprikash is a popular dish in the Cleveland area. A lot of Hungarian immigrants ended up there many years ago.

  6. jbosch says:

    A slight variation, if you take more onion and let them basically simmer for a long time you do not need flour for thickening. Waiting for the result in about 30 minutes – we will have Spätzle to go with it.

  7. mike brown says:

    Looks like all of those DuPont workers will have plenty of time to test out this recipe in the coming days/weeks.

  8. gippgig says:

    This may be of interest:
    Don’t expect any of them to show up in drugs; the known isotopes have very short half-lives.

  9. Cymantrene says:

    Nice recipe, thanks! But please, no butter! At least pig lard, but even more a piece of salted-smoked bacon (no meat, only a very little) chopped and fried, till melts, then adding onion.
    I like it with carraway (seeds or powdered) – this is heresy to some people 🙂
    Sour cream is not compulsory, although without sour cream the dish is but csirkepörkölt (chicken stew), sour cream transform it to a real paprikás. It’s usually added and mixed on the plate to the dish. Leftovers can be filled into pancake (thin type), resulting in (more or less) hortobágyi húsos palacsinta.

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