Chicken Paprikash(ish)

By • August 29, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: An Italian-American friend and I have joked that we both grew up thinking an inordinate amount of food was red - in her case, due to tomato sauce, and in mine, paprika. Its warm, earthy flavor is a mainstay of the family cooking that inspired this recipe, though my version takes a few left turns. For one, you'd never have found sour cream or butter in my Hungarian-Jewish grandmother’s Paprikash. She wasn’t kosher, but mixing dairy and meat simply wasn’t the cooking language with which she’d grown up. I also use fresh dill to her dried, and of course she came from a generation before chickens misplaced their bones.

(Recipe police, please note the recipe's title: no claim nor intention of authenticity. Also, please excuse the dreadful photo - I promise it looks better in real life!)


Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut in roughly 2" pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onioin, quartered and sliced thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika*
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or canned low sodium chicken broth)
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven, add chicken in a single layer, sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Sauté until golden brown. (Do in two batches if necessary – don’t crowd the pan.) Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  3. Add the butter to the same pot, then the sliced onion and saute until translucent and just starting to turn golden. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add both paprika's, then the tomato paste. Stir and cook for a minute. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring for another minute.
  4. Raise flame to medium high and add the chicken stock. Bring just to a boil, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, then lower the flame to a simmer. Add more salt, depending on saltiness of your stock. (Taste first - even low sodium canned broth can be pretty salty.) Put the chicken pieces back in the pot and combine everything together.
  5. Put the pot in the oven for about 30 minutes, mixing a couple of times. Start uncovered, until sauce has thickened a little after around 15 minutes, then cover. If it cooks down too fast, add a few tablespoons more broth. (I like to do this in the oven, but you can finish it on the stove top instead, if you prefer.)
  6. Remove from oven and mix in the sour cream and dill. If you need to reheat, do it gently - don't let it boil or the sour cream will separate.
  7. It might look like a lot of sauce in proportion to the meat, but that's the best part, served over Spaetzle (aka Nokedli in Hungary.) If you can’t manage that, it’s also good served over buttered egg noodles, or even orzo.
  8. *In my experience, Paprikash has a mellow flavor with just a bit of a kick. If you prefer it a little spicier, you can increase the hot paprika, but not to the point of making it assertively spicy.

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