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The Hungarian Kitchen: Chicken Paprikash

The Hungarian Kitchen: Chicken Paprikash
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  • Post #31 - January 14th, 2013, 10:31 pm
    Post #31 - January 14th, 2013, 10:31 pm Post #31 - January 14th, 2013, 10:31 pm
    Hi,

    I made your Chicken Paprikash this evening. It was terrific!

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #32 - January 15th, 2013, 1:54 pm
    Post #32 - January 15th, 2013, 1:54 pm Post #32 - January 15th, 2013, 1:54 pm
    The tip on not overcooking the paprika is invaluable. Now I know why my Paprikash has always been bitter. I thought it was the paprika, but now I know, I have been overcooking it.
  • Post #33 - January 15th, 2013, 5:47 pm
    Post #33 - January 15th, 2013, 5:47 pm Post #33 - January 15th, 2013, 5:47 pm
    Binko wrote:I usually don't like to cook with IPAs, as they're hoppy and a bit bitter, but not everyone seems to notice. When I do carbonnade, my cheaper domestic choice is New Belgium's Abbey or Triple (and sometimes one bottle of each.)
    IPAs actually become more bitter as they cook. Maltier ales or lagers are definitely better to cook with. I actually find a good old cheap american Lager (slightly sweet, light on the hops) to be best in Chili and stews. Porters are especially good for braising meats.
  • Post #34 - January 15th, 2013, 9:33 pm
    Post #34 - January 15th, 2013, 9:33 pm Post #34 - January 15th, 2013, 9:33 pm
    d4v3 wrote:
    Binko wrote:I usually don't like to cook with IPAs, as they're hoppy and a bit bitter, but not everyone seems to notice. When I do carbonnade, my cheaper domestic choice is New Belgium's Abbey or Triple (and sometimes one bottle of each.)
    IPAs actually become more bitter as they cook. Maltier ales or lagers are definitely better to cook with. I actually find a good old cheap american Lager (slightly sweet, light on the hops) to be best in Chili and stews. Porters are especially good for braising meats.


    Yeah, my preferred beers are low-hop, malty beers, or even sours. Newcastle Brown (a beer I don't much like on its own) is a pretty good one for a light flavor, but a bit of that roasted malt sweetness. The syrup-y, high-alcohol Baltic porters work well with red meat dishes, stews or braises.

    d4v3 wrote:The tip on not overcooking the paprika is invaluable. Now I know why my Paprikash has always been bitter. I thought it was the paprika, but now I know, I have been overcooking it.


    Yeah, it doesn't take much to burn paprika (or any type of chile pepper). Chile peppers have a high sugar content, so no more than a minute off the flame or on low flame in the oil--just enough to distribute it in the fat and begin to release its fragrance. You should be able to tell when it's burning, though, as it starts to develop a bit of an acrid scent and it changes from a red to brown color. It's kind of like garlic in that way. You've got to watch it, as once it burns, that flavor is permeating the entire dish and you just have to start over.

    Incidentally, the "dissolving spices in oil" technique is useful for many types of cuisine, especially if you're incorporating chiles. You've probably seen this technique in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine, where you often fry herbs and spices in oil, but it seems to me not to be used as much here for USA cuisine--at least I don't ever remember being taught it when I was learning to cook. When I make chili, for example, I always incorporate the chili powder into the fat first and letting it cook for about one minute before adding broth or tomatoes (if using) or any other liquidy ingredient. It really does seem to disperse and make stronger the spice flavors. I might make another "spice dump" into the chili as it's cooking, but the base flavors I start with spices dissolved and lightly cooked in oil.
  • Post #35 - January 16th, 2013, 6:57 am
    Post #35 - January 16th, 2013, 6:57 am Post #35 - January 16th, 2013, 6:57 am
    Binko wrote:That sounds suspiciously like a Flemish carbonnade, except with turkey replacing the beef. Let us know how it turns out--I usually don't like to cook with IPAs, as they're hoppy and a bit bitter, but not everyone seems to notice. When I do carbonnade, my cheaper domestic choice is New Belgium's Abbey or Triple (and sometimes one bottle of each.)



    Binko, you were spot on. The IPA was way too hoppy, and the turkey thighs in my opinion had too strong of a taste to mesh well with the rest of the dish. It was only OK overall, not a recipe I'd make again.
  • Post #36 - January 29th, 2013, 11:14 pm
    Post #36 - January 29th, 2013, 11:14 pm Post #36 - January 29th, 2013, 11:14 pm
    Binko,

    Thank you again for explaining this recipe. I have made it twice, because I could not get over how simple it was to execute and how wonderful the outcome.

    I explained the recipe to a friend, who also made it. She made the critical error you warned against: she introduced the paprika into too hot a pan. She is more a stir fry type cook, though now she has experienced why you need a cooler pan for introducing the paprika. She will likely not make that mistake again.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #37 - January 29th, 2013, 11:24 pm
    Post #37 - January 29th, 2013, 11:24 pm Post #37 - January 29th, 2013, 11:24 pm
    Sweet! Glad to hear you got great results from such a simple preparation. It really is deceivingly simple, isn't it? But a lot of great recipes are the same. All you need is quality ingredients and proper technique. For me, the paprika is the key make-or-break component here. You'd think it was the chicken, but I've made this with the cheapest chicken I could find and it still tastes good as long as the paprika is good and the sour cream is not of the low-fat variety. Yes, the quality of chicken and sour cream do make a difference in the final product, but the paprika--for me--is most responsible for the overall success of the dish.

    I'll try to add the Hungarian goulash(soup) recipe in the next day or two.

    Oh, and I just noticed, apparently I never mentioned that this dish could be made with veal. Veal paprikash is also a common type of paprikash in Hungary. You can follow the same recipe and use veal instead of chicken. I particularly like it when veal paprikash is served with galuska/spaetzle mixed with pot cheese (or similar fresh cheese) and dill.
  • Post #38 - January 30th, 2013, 7:08 am
    Post #38 - January 30th, 2013, 7:08 am Post #38 - January 30th, 2013, 7:08 am
    I also made it but with small boneless pork chops. I added a tiny bit of tomato and some green, yellow and red pepper strips to it and it was delicious. I used Penzeys paprika, half sweet, half hot. I am going to Bendes to get some different paprika and I want to make it with chicken too.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #39 - January 30th, 2013, 9:17 am
    Post #39 - January 30th, 2013, 9:17 am Post #39 - January 30th, 2013, 9:17 am
    Nice. Pretty much any kind of meat will do. Chicken and veal are the most common (at least in the Budapest area), but I've seen pork and lamb variants, too. I generally recommend cuts like shoulder/chuck or shank for those types of animals (due to the long, slow cooking nature of the dish.) But it's very flexible. When I first made paprikash (before I had moved to Budapest and before I really knew what "paprikash" was supposed to be like), I used chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces and a lot more vegetables, with plenty of red, yellow, and green peppers cut into strips, and even some chopped green celery. I think I even used tomatoes. It was a delicious dish, and certainly a bit healthier than the skin-on chicken paprikash I make these days. But when I want a taste of Budapest, it has to be made with whole pieces of chicken, bone-in, and skin-on. The chicken fat is kind of essential to the flavor, and the bones add to the richness.

    There is also a common variant made with mushrooms (gombapaprikás.) You can generally follow the same method as above, except substituting a mix of mushrooms for the chicken, and you only need to cook it about 20 minutes or so. Oh, and you can skip the lard, too. I just use oil or butter in mushroom paprikas. It's a nice dish to have up your sleeves for lacto-vegetarians. Garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Post #40 - January 30th, 2013, 12:41 pm
    Post #40 - January 30th, 2013, 12:41 pm Post #40 - January 30th, 2013, 12:41 pm
    I often cook with what I have. So I had pork chops and that is what it was. The chicken paprikash my mom made was cut up bone in chicken probably with the skin. Years ago no body really bothered with taking the skin off chicken. I think if I made it now I would make it with bone in skinned chicken. Regardless of the flavor imparted, I detest chicken skin unless its crisp on fried chicken or crisply roasted chicken. I think the bones make a difference too as they add flavor. I add peppers and some tomato because that is what I had growing up. Its hard to buck something you remember your mom making even if its not really authentic. I am sure she used regular store bought paprika because in those days there were not so many import stores or ways to get different ingredients.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #41 - January 30th, 2013, 1:06 pm
    Post #41 - January 30th, 2013, 1:06 pm Post #41 - January 30th, 2013, 1:06 pm
    Exactly. I'm not criticizing. I don't think being "authentic" is all that important, but useful to know. I cook like you do: whatever's around, I use. (Or more like, whatever's on sale, I use.) All these Hungarian stews and soups are very flexible in terms of meat and ingredients used. And even no less an authority than George Lang and Gundel's cookbook calls for tomatoes (or at least a tomato) in the paprikash, so you're in good company in using it. (As for the chicken skin, it's more the fat and flavor it imparts into the dish that I use it for than eating the skin itself. I could take it or leave it. Floppy chicken skin ain't the most appetizing thing in the world.)
  • Post #42 - February 3rd, 2013, 4:24 pm
    Post #42 - February 3rd, 2013, 4:24 pm Post #42 - February 3rd, 2013, 4:24 pm
    I made a vegetarian version of this last night for dinner, using baby portobella mushrooms. It was quick and delicious and I will be making it again soon. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, Binko.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #43 - February 22nd, 2013, 11:30 am
    Post #43 - February 22nd, 2013, 11:30 am Post #43 - February 22nd, 2013, 11:30 am
    I made this recently and it was a HUGE success. Easily one of the best things I've made in a long time.

    I'm about to go buy ingredients and prepare a large batch of this. I wonder if it will be easier to just cook it in the oven and not worry about scorching on the cooktop? Have you tried it that way?

    BTW, I didn't brown the chicken at all and it came out just fine.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #44 - February 22nd, 2013, 12:01 pm
    Post #44 - February 22nd, 2013, 12:01 pm Post #44 - February 22nd, 2013, 12:01 pm
    Perfect dish to make in this weather. The only thing I will say about not browning the chicken is that caramelization does add a lot of flavor to the dish.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #45 - February 22nd, 2013, 1:37 pm
    Post #45 - February 22nd, 2013, 1:37 pm Post #45 - February 22nd, 2013, 1:37 pm
    HI,

    If you brown the chicken, it would have to be before you cook the onions. You don't want to do anything to risk making the paprika bitter.

    I have not yet browned the chicken for this dish, I just love the flavor as it is.

    Mike - you could do this in a low oven. I have been doing this stove top with the temperature set very low.

    I made my fourth batch the other night: some for us and some for a friend with a newborn.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #46 - February 22nd, 2013, 7:54 pm
    Post #46 - February 22nd, 2013, 7:54 pm Post #46 - February 22nd, 2013, 7:54 pm
    ^Agreed with all above. Browning the chicken definitely does add flavor to the dish but my observation has been that Hungarian cooking doesn't typically brown food as much as other European styles of cooking. That doesn't necessarily mean not browning is the best way of cooking the dish--it's just the way that I personally am most familiar with. Even when I've seen people fry up the chicken first, it's usually to a yellow stage, not full browning. But it's all good. I don't want to say anything definitive, but I just checked a couple of sources and most seem to add the chicken raw after the golden (but not brown) onion stage. Some let the chicken kind of steam with the onions (like George Lang), covered, for 10 minutes before adding the paprika, stirring, cooking for a minute, and then adding a 1/2 cup water.

    The one fancy note I will leave is that George Lang writes: "The combination of sour cream and heavy cream is the almost forgotten, but ideal way to prepare this dish. Today, more often than not, the heavy cream is omitted. In Hungary, the lily is gilded by spreading several tablespoons of additional sour cream on top of the chicken in the serving platter." I made a note of it in the original recipe, but if you want to get a little fancy, do half table cream/whipping cream and half sour cream for that step.

    And, yeah, you absolutely could do it in a Dutch oven (or similar) in a low oven. Something like 300F should work fine. Even lower if you want. No reason you couldn't dump everything in a slow cooker, either, after the paprika step.
  • Post #47 - February 23rd, 2013, 10:00 am
    Post #47 - February 23rd, 2013, 10:00 am Post #47 - February 23rd, 2013, 10:00 am
    Yep, second batch came out even better. Sweated onions on cooktop, removed from heat added paprika and stirred to bloom. A pinch of salt and tge chx with a scant 1/4c of water. Covered at 300 till the bones came out easily.

    So good on a cold day.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #48 - February 23rd, 2013, 12:51 pm
    Post #48 - February 23rd, 2013, 12:51 pm Post #48 - February 23rd, 2013, 12:51 pm
    Oh, and if you want to take it even a step farther, you can make a dish called hortobágyi palacsinta out of the paprikash (it can be made with pretty much any kind of paprikash or pörkölt). It requires crepe-making skills, though. Fry up a few crepes and, separately, shred the meat from the chicken paprikash. Apply a little bit of the sauce to the shredded chicken. You may need to salt a little more to taste at this point. Take your crepes and stuff them, burrito style, with some of the paprikash mixture. (You don't need a huge mound of meat. A tablespoon or so should do.) If you're doing a whole mess of these in advance, set them all in a baking pan. When you're done stuffing and rolling all your crepes, pour some more of the sour-cream-paprika mixture over them (kind of like enchiladas in a way), and bake in a 375 oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes or so. Serve on a place with more sour cream sauce. Basically, you want to end up with something that looks like this.

    Another method is to stuff the crepes and bunch them up like a bag, tying them at the top with a chive. Here's an example.

    You can also do them "to order," and skip the baking step. For elegance, it's also nice to pass the paprika sour cream sauce through a seive and make it extra smooth. I've even used this type of idea with pierogi/ravioli (stuff with paprikash chicken, boil up, serve with sour cream-paprika sauce.) I expect paprikash enchiladas would even work really well.
    Last edited by Binko on February 23rd, 2013, 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #49 - February 23rd, 2013, 12:54 pm
    Post #49 - February 23rd, 2013, 12:54 pm Post #49 - February 23rd, 2013, 12:54 pm
    How well does this keep as leftovers, or to be reheated the next day? I'm thinking about making some tomorrow, but wouldn't be eating it until Monday and maybe leftovers on Tuesday.
  • Post #50 - February 23rd, 2013, 1:02 pm
    Post #50 - February 23rd, 2013, 1:02 pm Post #50 - February 23rd, 2013, 1:02 pm
    rickster wrote:How well does this keep as leftovers, or to be reheated the next day? I'm thinking about making some tomorrow, but wouldn't be eating it until Monday and maybe leftovers on Tuesday.


    It keeps very well. Like most stews, I might even say it tastes better on the second day. You could wait until when you reheat it on Monday before you do the sour cream step (if you definitely know you're not going to eat any right away), but I typically make it all the way through one day and eat it for the next two or three days. I would just make sure to keep the chicken paprikash separate from any pasta or rice you might be serving it with (that is, don't combine them in one pot.)
  • Post #51 - February 23rd, 2013, 1:22 pm
    Post #51 - February 23rd, 2013, 1:22 pm Post #51 - February 23rd, 2013, 1:22 pm
    Thanks. I was concerned that the sour cream might curdle or do something strange to the texture of the chicken over a couple of days. Will be giving it a try.
  • Post #52 - March 12th, 2013, 6:58 pm
    Post #52 - March 12th, 2013, 6:58 pm Post #52 - March 12th, 2013, 6:58 pm
    Binko, you magnificent b******, you did it!

    Used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sweet paprika bought at GardenFresh in Mundelein, Dean's sour cream, two white onions and one long banana pepper that oddly had my hands burning but was very mild in the sauce. Served it with Bechtle spaetzle cooked in chicken broth and Cracovia red cabbage. Perfect complement.

    I sauteed the onions in canola oil, added the chicken, cooked but didn't really brown it. Added the sweet paprika, which wasn't as flourescent as yours but plenty fragrant. Simmered on medium-low for an hour, then as you said beat flour into the sour cream and mixed it best I could into the sauce, after I had pulled the chicken out. There initially were some small balls of the sour cream/flour mixture, but I kinda whisked that into oblivion.

    The taste is mild but complex, and with the al dente spaetzle & the vinegariness of the red cabbage mixed in, I could see living on this during a harsh winter in Budapest. Funny, it almost had a mushroom taste with no mushrooms at all.

    Loved it, I suspect the leftovers will be spectacular tomorrow. Let the snow fly!

    Good job, man.
  • Post #53 - March 13th, 2013, 9:31 am
    Post #53 - March 13th, 2013, 9:31 am Post #53 - March 13th, 2013, 9:31 am
    I guess I should have posted on the outcome of my test a few weeks ago, but this recipe was fantastic, and so easy to make. If there was a ratio that measured ease of preparation vs. ultimate dish flavor, this would be at the top of the charts. I used boneless chicken breasts cut into chunks that I browned first and removed before sweating the onions. As a result, I didn't simmer the dish as long as recommended since the chicken was largely cooked. It still turned out great.

    It also kept well for several days worth of leftovers.
  • Post #54 - March 14th, 2013, 1:43 pm
    Post #54 - March 14th, 2013, 1:43 pm Post #54 - March 14th, 2013, 1:43 pm
    Sweet! Glad to see a Hungarian classic get such traction. It does, indeed, pack a lot of flavor punch for such a straightforward dish, and is easily adaptable to boot!
  • Post #55 - August 25th, 2013, 12:54 pm
    Post #55 - August 25th, 2013, 12:54 pm Post #55 - August 25th, 2013, 12:54 pm
    Do you just slice the gypsy peppers raw as a garnish or do you cook them at all?
  • Post #56 - November 16th, 2013, 4:34 pm
    Post #56 - November 16th, 2013, 4:34 pm Post #56 - November 16th, 2013, 4:34 pm
    I have the Dutch Oven on the stove right now. I did brown the chicken first. That released some liquid to saute the onion in. I am going to try adding the heavy cream. I have added no water yet.
    "I live on good soup, not on fine words." -Moliere
  • Post #57 - November 17th, 2013, 12:12 am
    Post #57 - November 17th, 2013, 12:12 am Post #57 - November 17th, 2013, 12:12 am
    Octarine wrote:Do you just slice the gypsy peppers raw as a garnish or do you cook them at all?


    Sorry, I didn't see this before. The garnish is a just a raw pepper. I like to garnish with hot banana peppers, myself. However, you can also add a diced gypsy pepper or two (or similar pepper) to the onions while they're cooking.
  • Post #58 - November 18th, 2013, 9:15 am
    Post #58 - November 18th, 2013, 9:15 am Post #58 - November 18th, 2013, 9:15 am
    IMAG0730.JPG Here is the finished Paprikash. We really enjoyed this and its very smooth sauce. I have ordered the George Lang book. Next up, Szekelygulas and learning how to make proper spaetzle
    IMAG0725.JPG This is how the Paprikash looked after the chicken was cooked and before the cream and sour cream were stirred in. No water was added. I used two pounds of thighs.
    "I live on good soup, not on fine words." -Moliere
  • Post #59 - November 18th, 2013, 10:50 am
    Post #59 - November 18th, 2013, 10:50 am Post #59 - November 18th, 2013, 10:50 am
    Yay! Share the paprikash love. I'm surprised that in such a meat & starch town like Chicago (or at least such a traditionally meat & starch town like Chicago), that paprikash and other Hungarian stews aren't as widespread.
  • Post #60 - November 18th, 2013, 2:41 pm
    Post #60 - November 18th, 2013, 2:41 pm Post #60 - November 18th, 2013, 2:41 pm
    Binko - Chicago never had a large Hungarian population compared to other cities. South Bend where I grew up had 3 Hungarian Catholic Churches, a Hungarian Reformed Church, and a Hungarian Methodist Church. Buffalo, Cleveland, and Montreal had much larger Hungarian populations. CARDINAL Mindszenty visited south Bend in 1947 abd 1974. I was one of many altar boys at one of the 1974 masses.

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