Chicken "Paprikash" a.k.a, Paprikas

When I was growing up, my mom would make this quite often. She called it “Quick Chicken Paprikas” but I don’t know how I let her get away with that. There wasn’t any paprika within miles of the dish. It was good, though. So, I resurrected the recipe, added paprika, tweaked it a little more and this is what I came up with. Actually, this is a lot like Poor Man’s Stroganoff made with chicken instead of ground meat.

Chicken Paprikas

Ingredients

  • 6 - 8 chicken thighs (they can be boneless and skinless but these are not)
  • 3 chicken breasts (these are boneless, skinless and halved)
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can each, cream of celery soup, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup
  • 3 - 4 cups chicken broth
  • 6 - 7 tbsp paprika (you can use hot but I prefer sweet) or more
  • 6 - 7 tbsp paprika (you can use hot but I prefer sweet) or more
  • 2 - 3 tbsp butter and/or cooking oil

Directions

Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. There is plenty of salt in the cream soups and most chicken broths. Season liberally with paprika (hot or sweet, dealer's choice). After all, that's where the "paprikas" comes from. Like I said, I don't know how my mom got away with no paprika in paprikas for years.
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Preferably in a heavy-bottomed casserole, melt the butter and add the cooking oil or omit the butter if you must. Over medium to medium-high heat, brown the chicken pieces in batches, placing the seasoned side down, approximately 5 - 7 minutes per side for bone-in thighs and 4 or 5 minutes per side for boneless breasts. Then season the other side once the chicken is in the pot. You want to brown the chicken in the same pot that it will be cooked in so as not to waste all the good stuff that accumulates on the bottom of the pot. You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through because it will be finished in the oven. Also, at some point you will think you are burning the chicken. You are not. That is the paprika caramelizing. I don't think I've ever heard paprika and caramelize in the same sentence before, so you heard it here first.
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If you are working in batches, loosely tent the chicken that has been browned and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
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Once all the chicken pieces are browned, pour off any liquid in the pot. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pot. That just means that you loosen the browned bits of goodness on the bottom. Add the cream soups and mix well. Return all the chicken to the pot. Cover and place in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about an hour.
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Serve over pasta. In this instance, I used a trio of penne, small shells and rotini. I usually clean out my pasta boxes that only have a little left in them and mix them together but, I discovered, you can buy them that way, too. At any rate, you want some texture to your pasta so the sauce will get caught up in it. Enjoy!

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