Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash is an ethnic meal that I have enjoyed my entire life. Greg and I even had it, cooked by the church ladies of the Hungarian Church, at our wedding in 1972. Mary Ann remembers that we used “Say Paprikash!” instead of “Say Cheese!” for our wedding pictures. I’ve eaten fabulous versions and I’ve eaten versions that served up mushy dumplings and made me wonder “Where”s the chicken?” The following recipe is one that I have perfected and is, without a doubt, one of my families most highly anticipated meals. It is not a hard dish to make and actually uses a very basic list of ingredients. To learn how to have your own fresh paprika be sure to read my post “Home Grown Paprika“.

Chicken Paprikash

Ingredients

  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon paprika store bought or your own fresh ground paprika peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt - use less if your taste dictates (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic - I use 2 cloves
  • 4-5lb chicken pieces/bone in (bone in chicken gives better flavor to the sauce)
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth (I use my own homemade chicken broth)
  • 1/2 pint sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • For Dumplings you will need:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I usually use less)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water

Directions

Trim chicken pieces and salt and pepper both sides. Set aside. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a heavy skillet. I use a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet.
Saute the onions, paprika (freshly ground if you can get it), salt, pepper, and garlic until the onions are softened. Add the chicken pieces and brown them well on all sides. At this point it may seem to you that the onion pieces are getting very dark but never fear, all will be well.
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When the chicken pieces are browned nicely on all sides pour in the chicken broth. The broth should barely cover the chicken pieces. Give things a stir to loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Cover the skillet and simmer the chicken for about an hour. Keep the skillet on a low flame - you don't want the broth to boil away - your goal is to infuse the broth and chicken with the flavors of paprika and onion.
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When the chicken is cooked through and tender remove it to a platter and cover it to keep it warm. Mix the tablespoon of flour into the sour cream until it is well
incorporated. Whisk this mixture into the simmering sauce and continue whisking until the sour cream is blended completely into the sauce. Simmer gently a minute or two to blend flavors and allow the flour to thicken the sauce.
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Add the drained dumplings - recipe below - and stir to coat them with the sauce.
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Snuggle the chicken pieces into the dumplings and sauce and heat it all together. Serve in shallow soup bowls and enjoy. Don't you feel just a little bit Hungarian?
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Here is my freshly ground dried paprika. Click to enlarge and see the mix of gorgeous colors. The tiny flecks infuse the sauce with a depth of flavor hard to match.
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Look closely and you can see the paprika pepper flakes in the sauce. Yum!
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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, mix all the dumpling ingredients together - flour, eggs, salt, and water. Add the 1/3 cup of the water first and then add the rest slowly if the dough is too dry.
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Mix dumpling dough with a spoon and then with your hands until it is relatively smooth and makes a ball. Don't be too concerned if your dough is not perfectly mixed. You can see by the picture that my dough is not perfectly mixed. It all comes together when you pinch the dough into the boiling water. Allow dough to rest until the water boils.
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When the water is boiling rapidly hold the dough in one hand and, using your thumb and index finger of the other hand, scoop up a small piece of dough with your thumb and push the dumpling into the boiling water with your index finger. Try to keep the dumplings about the same size so they cook evenly but on the other hand don't worry if they are not "exactly" the same. I know that there are "spaetzle makers" that you can use to "grate" the dumpling dough into the boiling water. My experience with this contraption has not been worth the clean-up time and the final dumplings are too small and mushy for my taste. I like a chunky dumpling with a bit of resistance when I bite into it. Continue pinching and pushing the dough until all the dumplings are in the boiling water. Keep the water boiling and give things a stir once in a while to mix in the dumplings that get caught on the top of the floating dumplings. By the way, the dumplings in the picture have a beautiful golden color because they are made with fresh eggs from our hens.
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Boil the dumplings for about 10 minutes. Taste one to make certain that the interior in cooked through. Drain the dumplings and add to the paprikash sauce.
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Note

My mother, Stella, always grates a small peeled potato into her dumpling dough. This keeps the dumplings very tender.

I also use this dumpling recipe for Potato-Leek Soup. When I pull the last of the leeks in the garden I'll post the recipe.

Hey from the farm,

Fran The Country Cousin

 

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