So I’ve been making this Chicken Paprikas dish for a while now, sort of reminiscent of stroganoff with the addition of creamy yogurt, usually served over wide egg noodles, pulled from some foodie magazine that I tend to drool over.

Then for the past two years I’ve been able to tag along with the spouse while he’s on business in Austria. Last year in Vienna, while fending for myself touring and lunching, I was served a creamy reddish chicken dish over spaetzle, a type of dumpling or pasta. Hmmm, tastes familiar (couldn’t really understand the menu, so wasn’t sure what I was getting).

Chicken Paprikash in Vienna Austria

This year the spouse’s business meetings were a little outside of Vienna in Perchtoldsdorf, an adorable little village smack in the middle of wine country. Once again fending for myself, I lunched at a small cafe positioned in the back of an organic store (#genussfarmperchtoldsdorf) where the chef (who was super sweet and spoke English) makes one dish per day, and that day it was Chicken Paprikash. And person after person came in while I was dining to take away their Chicken Paprikash back to work.

Chicken Paprikash in Perchtoldsdorf Austria

I’m realizing that I am enjoying an Austrian-Hungarian specialty, and I need to tweak my own recipe. But first, I must get my hands on some genuine Hungarian paprika, the essential element in Chicken Paprikash. It just so happens that the spouse was heading to Hungary for a day of meetings, so I’m begging him to bring a container of Real Hungarian Paprika! Well, oh my, the Hungarians he met with were super nice and brought in a huge bag of various paprikas for him to bring to me! The photo below is only half of what they brought!

Real Hungarian Paprikas!

When I got home I was busy with Google Translate to see what I had, and the best uses for them. Some are ground, some are preserved in olive oil, some are a paste in a tube, some are bright red (sweeter) and some are brown-orange (a little hotter, though not hot by SoCal tastes), some are mild while some are slightly pungent to very pungent.

According to a word forum I visited, ” Roughly, there are 4 categories according to different criteria (the most important being the colour content): különleges (special), csemege (“anything nice to eat” or delicacy), édes-nemes (sweet-noble), rózsa (rose), going from the “richest” coloured (+ flavoured) to the paler powders. (https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/paprika-%C3%89desnemes-csemege.1128299/).

Peppers were introduced to Hungary during the Turkish occupation of that country in the 16th and 17th centuries. Much of Hungary’s paprika comes from Kalocsa, near the Danube River, and the larger city of Szeged, on the Tisza River, both in the southern part of Hungary. Several types of peppers are grown in Hungary for paprikas.

So we’ve been on a Hungarian paprika high ever since!

And, of course, there was the tweaking of my original Chicken Paprikas, Paprikás Csirke in Hungarian (pronounced paprikash cheerke). Chicken Paprikash, as in any well-loved recipe, is prepared mostly the same way with the same basic ingredients:  Chicken, onions, garlic, broth, lots of paprika, sometimes tomatoes, salt & pepper, and sour cream and sometimes cream, with a few variations (as in my original-from-a-foodie-magazine with yogurt). And it can be bone-in, as I had in Vienna (photo above), or boneless pieces, as I had in Perchtoldsdorf (photo above).

So here goes:

Chicken Paprikash, 4 servings

1 3-lb chicken, skin and fat removed, cut into serving pieces

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 T. sweet Hungarian paprika (I used édes “Noble sweet”)

2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt, if desired)

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 T. cornstarch

2 T chopped parsley, for garnish

Season chicken lightly with salt & pepper. In a heavy nonstick pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden, then turn over with tongs and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes until second side is golden. Remove chicken to a platter.

Sprinkle onions, tomatoes, and garlic into pan and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes until onions have softened. Turn burner to low (to not scorch the paprika) and sprinkle with paprika and a little additional salt & pepper, and cook one minute longer. Return chicken to pan.

Add chicken stock, bring to boil, cover the pan, turning heat down to a simmer. Turn chicken pieces occasionally, simmering, for about 40 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together sour cream (or yogurt), heavy cream, and cornstarch. Add to pan, stirring and cooking on low-to-medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Check salt & pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and serve garnished with a little more sour cream and chopped parsley.

Can be served with wide egg noodles or, as I intend tonight, with spaetzle. Woo-hoo! Thanks to Amazon, it’s arrived! Lets see how my first spaetzle goes!

Brand spanking new Spaetzle maker
Passport Dinners
Taste the World, One Box at a Time
www.Passportdinners.com

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