Thursday, April 10, 2014

Paprika Chicken

Batyama Csirkepaprikas with Uborkasalata

First a word in tribute: slave was very lucky to have met a person on line that has been a great inspiration. He has been there as a teacher, a leader, a Master, a co-conspirator, and friend! His words have comforted me when I cried, shared jokes with me when I felt silly and gently corrected me if I went overboard.
I wanted to do this dish to honor him. It is a simple Hungarian dish, often enjoyed every week all over the old country. So much so, written recipes are hard to come by and often conflicting. Nearly every Hungarian family has fixed this dish just as their mothers and grandmothers had going back for longer than they remember.
Slave can not hope to compete with the fantastic tastes that the memories from so long ago bring to mind. Instead, here is a dish that even the inexperienced cook can handle that pays homage to that great heritage.
NOW: a word about paprika. It is not just to dust the top of deviled eggs! It is the fourth most used spice in the world! The flavor features prominently in Hungarian cuisine. There, most cooks have a shelf full of different kinds!
Paprika consists of, ground up and blended, different types of peppers (varieties of Capsicum annuum). Yes that is the same stuff that gives the “heat” to arthritis rubs. It also contains up to seven times more vitamin C than Orange juice!
What we want to find and use here is referred to as “Sweet” Hungarian paprika or “edesnemes” (noble sweet). Yes, you will have to look but it is well worth it effort. Oh by the way, once you find it: keep in refrigerated! To hold the flavor.
When you think of Hungarian (Magyar) cooking, people tend to think: “Goulash” traditional "gulyásleves" (literally "goulash soup") and some might even remember the wonderful taste of beef with a lemon sauce.
Here is slave's version of chicken cooked slowly in a creamy paprika stew of onions and just a touch of green peppers. To balance this dish, it is usually served with a side of cucumber salad or “Uborkasalata”.
Many an argument can be found over which is correct: serve over rice, or a spatzle, or homemade egg noodles. Here we go with the simple wide egg noodles. Lets not get too carried away! Think Lisa Douglas trying to make chicken and dumplings!
FIRST the salad! “Uborkasalata”
2 medium cucumbers peeled
¼ cup kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup white vinegar Do Not use balsamic for this!
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs sugar
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika to dust on top.

1 After peeling cucumbers, rake down the sides with the tines of a fork to give it a pretty edge. Slice cucumbers very thinly, preferably using a mandolin. BE sure to leave plenty of room at the end to hold them, go slowly there is NO rush here. See how much slave left!

2 Line a colander with paper towels: put in a single layer of cucumbers, then sprinkle with a small amount of the salt. Continue this method until all the salt and cucumbers are used up. This will draw out the water.
3 Cover the cucumbers with a plate inside the colander, and put a very heavy weight on top. Make sure the colander is in a large bowl, because the cucumbers will lose a lot of water. Let them sit for at least an hour.
4. Finely mince the garlic and again, using the mandolin, slice the onion, slowly using the handle!
5 After the hour pull out the paper towels and run cold water over the cucumber to wash off the salt. Then pick up handfuls of the slices and squeeze them before putting in a bowl.
6 Mix ½ cup of light sour cream with ¼ cup vinegar and the sugar, stir in the minced garlic. Taste and correct with any salt or pepper as needed. Mix in the cucumbers and put in refrigerator to blend flavors while you cook the chicken.
  • 2 to 2 ½ lbs chicken, preferably boneless thighs
  • salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 yellow onions
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can diced roasted tomatoes, well drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup sour cream

Cut the onions in half top to bottom then slice thinly pole to pole.

Heat a Dutch Oven or large pot over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Once hot, pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, and place in the pot. Let the chicken cook 4-5 minutes until well browned, then turn over and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. (If you are used to nonstick frying pans, watch carefully) a cast iron dutch oven will stick so keep the chicken pieces moving. They will burn if not careful.

Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and set aside. Turn heat down!

Add the onion to the pot and cook on low, stirring occasionally and scraping up any bits from the chicken until lightly browned (about 7 minutes).

Add the paprika to the onions and stir to combine. Let cook for 1 minute. Add broth, tomato, green pepper, and bay leaves, stirring to mix. Nestle the chicken pieces into the pan on top of the onion mixture. Cover and cook on a low simmer for 20-25 minutes. Once the chicken pieces are cooked through, remove pan from heat.

Remove the chicken from the pan and let the pan cool for a minute. Fish out the bay leaves. Stir flour well into the sour cream. Stir this into the pan. If the sour cream cools to sauce too much, turn the heat back on and heat the sauce through, but do NOT boil! Add the chicken back to the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve the chicken with egg noodles.


Slave knows that this might seem like a hard dish to try, but really it is not. It has been an honor to dedicate this dish to a great man!
Úr bakancs Mester!
Thank You, Sir! (sorry that's the best google translate can do)

Serving my Master Indy
To satisfy and restore.
To nourish, support and maintain.
To gratify, spoil, comfort and please,
to nurture, assist, and sustain
..I cook!

Please buy slave's cookbook:

The Little Black Book of Indiscreet Recipes by Dan White via @amazon

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