Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicken paprika

Chicken paprika was one of the camper's favorite dishes this summer at Deer Crossing Camp. I served diced chicken meat, bathed in a rich creamy sauce and lots of sweet paprika over steamed brown rice on the first Tuesday of each two-week session.

Gigi, Deer Crossing's assistant cook for the 2008 season, introduced the dish from her native Hungary. I enjoyed cooking it because of my own Hungarian ancestry.

It's only the second native dish that I've cooked during my professional career. The other dish is Hungarian goulash.

Gigi's chicken paprika is reminiscent of a recipe that I found in the Culinary Arts Institute's 1955 cookbook, The Hungarian Cookbook (Culinary Art Institute: Chicago, 1955).


Because my family likes drumsticks and thighs, I used a package of five chicken hindquarters for this dish. Split each quarter into two pieces at the joint between the drumstick and thigh.

Chicken & flour dredge
1 chicken fryer, cut into 8 pieces
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
1-1/2 cups soup cream

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine flour and seasonings in bowl. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.

Melt enough shortening over low heat to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening melts, increase heat to medium-high.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side.

The internal temperature of the chicken should be about 180 degrees F when done. Remove chicken from skillet and discard fat. Wipe skillet clean if desired. Return chicken to skillet, arranging pieces in a single layer.

Prepare sauce in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and sweat until translucent and soft. Whisk in flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Don't brown roux.

Remove saucepan from heat and gradually whisk in stock. Return to heat and bring mixture to a rapid boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 to 2 minutes.

Add milk and paprika to saucepan, siring constantly. While stirring vigorously with wire whisk, add sour cream to sauce in small amounts.

Pour sauce over each piece of chicken in the skillet. Cook sauce over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Don't boil. Serve chicken over spatzle or egg noodles. Serves 4 to 5.

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