Chicken Paprikash

I’m still not sure how to pronounce it, but I sure know how to eat it! This dish comprises everything I love in a good chicken recipe: delicious, easy, interesting, and not soaked in a half gallon of oil. (I know that last attribute is really setting the bar high.)

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for close to half a year and finally got around to trying it last week. I then proceeded to make it again…and again…all in the same week. In my defense, I shared a lot of the spoils, but the fact that I made this recipe 3 times in 7 days underscores how good it is.

I can summarize the recipe thusly: sauté onion, add paprika, add chicken and water, simmer for 1 hour, shred chicken, add sour cream and flour, season with salt and pepper. It’s really that easy, yet the flavor is rich and complex. The paprika, onion, chicken, and sour cream combine into a savory, creamy, warmly spiced (but not spicy) sauce; and the chicken is super tender from the long braise. It goes perfectly over a pile of rice with a good book and a fuzzy blanket.

A couple notes on ingredients:

Chicken – the original recipe calls for bone-in thighs or chicken breasts, quartered. I have only tried this recipe with dark meat, as all my local grocers seem to be anti-bone-in chicken breasts. I imagine you could also try boneless, though. I have tried both thighs and drumsticks, and both tasted great. However, it was a pain in the derriere to get the skin off the drumsticks, and the sauce ended up way fattier than when I used thighs.

Paprika – you don’t need to use the fancy stuff, but it should be fresh. The original recipe asserts the more paprika the better. I agree and would add that you don’t want to be using old, pale, sad paprika. Feel free to buy the cheap-o brand, though. As long as it’s fresh, the end result will be really good.

Fun Fact: The dark parts of poultry are dark due to more myoglobin, which is an iron-containing protein in muscle. Ergo, the dark meat contains more iron than the light meat. This is a boon for iron-deficient, budget-conscious shoppers such as myself. If you want to maximize your iron absorption, eat it separately from calcium-rich foods because calcium and iron compete with each other.

Chicken Paprikash

from Food52.com

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

4 heaping tablespoons paprika

4 bone-in chicken thighs, with skin and excess fat trimmed away (or 2 chicken breasts or 5 drumsticks)

1¼ teaspoons salt

2 cups water

½ cup sour cream

1 spoonful (approximately 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat, and sauté the onions until soft. Add the paprika, and continue to sauté, stirring very frequently, for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken to the pot, and sprinkle salt over. Stir everything together until the chicken is coated in the paprika.

Here is where I diverge from the recipe slightly: the original states to let the chicken brown slightly, but I forgot to do this the first time, and it still turned out great. Due to laziness, the most I have done is get the chicken slightly de-pinked. So, do what you want. Follow your instincts. Browning probably concentrates and enriches the flavors a bit.

Add the 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer partially covered – I like to prop the lid with a wooden spoon – for 45-60 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove the chicken to shred it, and discard the bones. Whisk the sour cream and flour together, and stir into the paprikash broth. If the sauce is thinner than you want it, then boil it down to the desired consistency while the chicken is removed. Add the chicken back to the pot, and heat through. Serve over rice or with dumplings. Or both!

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