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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, a Simple Easy Comfort Food Recipe
It's winter time, and winter time in the Cagle house means Hungarian Chicken Paprikash. My husband and children can't get enough of this good stuff, and it's such a quick and easy recipe I can't help but oblige them by cooking it. Chicken Paprikash is one of my favorite comfort foods. I grew up in Lorain, Ohio, a little town west of Cleveland, that was filled with all sorts of fantastic European ethnic cooks. My father is Hungarian so Grandma naturally made the dish as did the little old women at St. Mary's Church who would make enormous kettles full of this deliciousness and sell it from the window of the church's kitchen every Saturday from October to April.
The basic recipe requires only a handful of ingredients but you can add your own special touch to it by throwing in a few extra spices. The cooking time is long-but it is oh so worth it in the end. In fact the best paprikash is paprikash that has been overnighted in the fridge.
Be warned though-You must include all of the ingredients and cook the meal in the proper way or it will morph into something less than the greatness you seek. I am speaking directly to my Irish mother when I say this: BEING LAZY AND COMBINING PRECOOKED STORE BOUGHT CHICKEN TO CANNED CREAM OF CHICKEN SOUP DOES NOT MAKE PAPRIKASH!! I feel better now so let's just move on shall we?
Prelude to a Recipe
Before we start I need to tell you three things:
- I use chicken thighs in my recipe because it makes a stronger broth. You can use any cut of the chicken you want to-even boneless chicken breasts. If you do use a white meat simply add more bouillon to your broth.
- Many people serve this dish with egg noodles and I've even seen it served with rice (umm, yuck). That's OK but the dumplings really aren't hard to make and they make the recipe so much better.
- This is a comfort food so it is not free of calories. It is thick and rich and yummy and will put pounds on you if you eat it too often. For those of you who want to make a healthier version use chicken breasts and low fat or no fat sour cream.
You will need a stock pot for this recipe.
- 3 tbs. butter
- 1 chopped onion
- 1lb of chicken thighs
- chicken bouillon
- enough water to cover the chicken in the stock pot.
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 large container of sour cream
- sweet paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by sauteing your onion in the melted butter. When onion becomes transparent add the chicken thighs and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the chicken begins to fall off of the bone. Remove the chicken, discard the skin and bones, and place the chicken back into the boiler. Add your bouillon and more water so that the boiler is approximately 3/4 full. Bring to a boil again and reduce the heat. Add your sour cream and paprika and simmer.
Make your dumplings by mixing your eggs with 1 cup of flour. Your goal is to make a sticky-stiff batter (more stiff than sticky). Continue to add more flour until the batter is at your desired consistency (if it is too dry add another egg or some milk). I'd like to be able to give you exact measurements but I don't measure when I make this recipe. I've done it for so long it's second nature to me. Drop the dumpling batter into the hot broth with a teaspoon. The dumplings will expand while cooking so don't make them too big. Create a thickening agent by combining 1 tbs. of flour to 1/4 C cold water. Mix well and add to the paprikash. Increase the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
That's All Folks
Well that's the recipe, short and sweet. I neglected to say that the paprika is used to turn the sauce an orange/red color. Use as much or as little as you want, it really doesn't make a difference. Oh, and one other thing-I left out my secret ingredient. I normally wouldn't tell anyone this but since we're such good friend and all I will share it with you. Are you ready? Ok, here it is: when you are mixing your sauce add just a pinch of love to it. It will make all the difference.