M’s family is Hungarian… three of his four grandparents came through Ellis Island, just around the time World War I was breaking out. He knew very little of his family history until very recently, when he was given a gift – really a treasure – of his family genealogy traced back centuries.
I am not Hungarian… all my ancestors came from the British Isles, and I’ve never had the opportunity to travel to Hungary – though it’s high on my list. My dream is to go on a culinary tour of Hungary. I imagine I’d learn about the subtle differences in paprika, feast on poppy-seed and walnut pastries, and sample those hot Hungarian sausages Michael’s dad adored. I’d be sure to go on a quest for the best Palinka – an exquisite sour cherry liqueur I once sampled at a diplomatic dinner. It was so good, I briefly contemplated smuggling the rest of the bottle out of the event…. but wisely thought better of it.
But until I set off for Budapest someday, I’ll have to be content to tinker with Hungarian recipes in my Virginia kitchen. I’ve come to love a few dishes that M grew up with… especially this one – my version of Chicken Paprikash.
This is a wonderful little dish to throw together on a weekday evening… You need just a few minutes and a few ingredients to create a delicious stew flavored with smokey paprika and rich sour cream.
Serve it over buttered noodles on a cool winter’s evening for a little taste of Hungary. Even if you’ve never been there.
adapted from a recipe found in Sheila Lukin’s All Around the World Cookbook
- 10 chicken tenders
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 orange or yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons good quality paprika
- 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1 can diced chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- buttered egg noodles, to serve.
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Dust the chicken tenders with salt, pepper and paprika, and place them in the dutch oven, cooking them for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the dutch oven and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers are wilted, about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Sprinkle with the 3 tablespoons of paprika and caraway seeds and cook, stirring, for one minute.
Dice the chicken into 1-inch pieces and add to the pot with the tomatoes and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Do not let the sauce boil.
While the chicken is cooking, mix the sour cream and flour together in a small bowl. After the sauce has finished cooking, add 1/4 cup of the hot sauce into the sour cream mixture and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the sour cream to the rest of the sauce, and stir until smooth. Again, don’t let the sauce boil.
Serve over buttered egg noodles.