Old World Comfort Food - Authentic Hungarian Chicken Paprikás With Nokedli
The real deal
If you were to google Chicken Paprikas, you would find page after page of recipes. You might even find an original Hungarian recipe for the dish, however, this recipe has been handed down through generations of Hungarian nationals.
My husband's mother was with the underground during the Hungarian revolution but when the Russian tanks started rolling through their streets in 1956, they fled to Austria, and then to Canada. They landed in Montreal in 1957, then moved to Regina, where my husband was born.
For the first five years of his life, he spoke Hungarian, learning English only after he was enrolled in Kindergarten. The recipe that he has graciously consented to being published was written down for him by his mother. She had a decent grasp of the English language, however, she learned to speak it through her children and did not know the different nuances of spelling, which made reading the recipe very heartwarming, although it was rather challenging. I never had the opportunity of meeting her, so I enjoy hearing her voice through her recipes.
Adjust recipe for more or less
When I had my first taste of this delicious chicken and pepper stew, I was amazed at the size of the dish. My husband had been using the original recipe that his mother had written down for him. Unfortunately, his mother was cooking for a family of five with enough left-overs for a hearty lunch and second supper.
Trying to adjust the recipe for a family of three, and then for just the two of us was a challenge.
I will be listing the ingredients for the original recipe, with the adjustment for a family of two at the bottom. Trust me, even with these adjustments, this meal will feed you for supper with enough left over for two hearty lunches and another supper!
Better than potatoes
While I love the stew, I absolutely adore the nokedli. This little dumpling is made with flour, eggs and hot water. While trying to make this recipe, my husband told me his water was too hot, and he ended up with scrambled eggs and flour! He confided that when his mother was taught how to make this meal, her mother did not have access to hot running water. In order to have hot water, she had to boil it, so the original recipe called for boiling water, slightly cooled.
My husband tried that once...and only once! From that time on, he used very, very hot tap water.
While nokedli translates to dumpling, and they have the appearance of small dumplings, they taste very similar to egg pasta balls. My son and I actually made a meal of the nokedli without the stew. We just added a pinch of salt and some butter...mm mm mm!
Preparation time includes both the paprikas and nokedli
- CHICKEN PAPRIKAS INGREDIENTS
- 2 green peppers, rough chopped
- 2 red peppers, rough chopped
- 2 yellow peppers, rough chopped
- 2 orange peppers, rough chopped
- 1 head garlic, chopped
- 2 white/spanish onions, diced
- 15-20 roma tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon lard
- 1 teaspoon (approx) salt, salt each layer of vegetables
- 1 teaspoon pepper, pepper each layer of vegetables
- 2 tablespoons hungarian paprika
- NOKEDLI INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 dozen eggs
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 - 1 cup hot water
Adjust hot water
The amount of hot water is adjustable and depends on the consistency of the dough. If you reach a good consistency before using either a 1/2 cup or a full cup of hot water, don't add any more. However, if the dough is still dry, and has not reached a smooth, elastic consistency, add small amounts of hot water until you reach the correct uniformity. You don't want soup - so watch your water content.
However, if that does happen, you can always add a bit more flour to even things out.
- CHICKEN PAPRIKAS INSTRUCTIONS: Heat large pot on medium high, and add lard. Add chicken and brown. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Chop onions and garlic, and add to chicken. Salt and pepper this layer. *note - do not use the full teaspoons of salt and pepper. This measurement includes all subsequent salting of each layer.*
- Clean and rough chop/slice all the peppers. Add to the pot, salt and pepper this layer.
- Slice bottoms off the tomatoes and quarter. Add to pot, salt and pepper this layer. Add paprika.
- Stir carefully with wooden spoon and put the lid on the pot. Leave to cook for 10 minutes, then stir again. When mixture comes to a boil, lower temperature and simmer until done.
- Paprikas is done when chicken is falling off the bone, peppers are soft and tomatoes are cooked down to sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
- NOKEDLI INSTRUCTIONS: Beat all 6 eggs until smooth.
- Slowly add flour, stirring constantly. When mixture starts to bind, begin adding the hot water. Keep stirring until dough reaches the desired consistency - smooth and elastic.
- Beat dough mixture continuously until dough separates cleanly from spoon.
- Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil. Pour half of the dough mixture onto a cutting board. Separate small tendrils of dough. Place cutting board over boiling water, and using a sharp knife, chop small chunks into the water.
- Dip your knife in the water after each piece. (This keeps the knife clean and clear of dough.) Finish cutting the nokedli into the pot. When dumplings rise to the top, they are cooked.
- Place large strainer in a stainless steel bowl. Remove nokedli from boiling water and place in strainer until drained. Put nokedli in large clean bowl.
- Repeat steps 10 through 12 until all the dough is cut and cooked. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
- Put serving of nokedli in bowls and spoon Paprikas over it. Add sour cream and enjoy.
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