Sunday, January 11, 2015

Paprikás Csirke; Chicken Paprikash

(4 -5 servings)

There are those who insist lard is necessary when preparing chicken paprikash. My paternal grandmother who was Hungarian used lard exclusively in her kitchen. She would have used it in this dish.

Whenever I make chicken paprikash, I use skinless and boneless chicken thighs. I don't even bother frying them. I just lay the chicken over the vegetable mixture which has been sauteed in butter or olive oil. This time I used regular bone-in chicken pieces and I wanted to fry them over high heat in order to crisp up the skin. I used lard, curious if it would make a difference in terms of flavor. I only used a small amount; about two teaspoons or so because the skin rendered plenty of additional fat.

When the paprikash was finished I couldn't tell the chicken had been fried with lard, the flavor also didn't come through the following day when I reheated the leftovers. Perhaps I needed to use more lard, but I didn't see the point. I prefer using the least amount of fat or oil and chicken paprikash is often finished with sour cream which renders this dish plenty rich.

Whether you use lard or oil, chicken paprikash is easy to prepare and very delicious. It's often served with tiny dumplings called spätzle or noodles. I like it with rice.

6-8 chicken thighs, (about 3 lbs)
salt and pepper
up to 1 tbsp lard or coconut oil
1 very large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 lb)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped (seeds removed)
1 tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
3 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
2/3 cup chicken broth

1/2 tsp *tapioca flour (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream

Rinse and pat dry the chicken thighs. Trim off any excess fat or skin. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the lard in a large pot (with lid) over medium-high heat. Carefully add the chicken thighs, skin side down in a single layer (you might have to do this in batches although mine all fit nice and snug) and fry until the skin is crispy and golden; about 4-8 minutes. Flip them over and fry another two minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Drain off all but a teaspoon or two of fat from the pot.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and garlic.  Saute until the onion softens; about 5 minutes. Add the chopped bell pepper and cook another 5 minutes or until that has softened.

Stir in the tomato paste, paprika and chicken broth. The mixture will be very thick. Don't be tempted to add more broth, the sauce will thin out once the chicken has braised for a while. When the vegetable mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Place the reserved chicken on top, skin side up and cover the pot tightly with a lid and cook for about 1 to 1 1 /2 hours or until the chicken is very tender. I like to cook it until the meat is ready to fall off the bones.

Remove the chicken to a serving bowl and cover loosely with foil.

Combine the tapioca flour (if using) with the sour cream. * I like to add a small amount of starch because it keeps the sour cream from curdling if the temperature gets too high. If you decide to omit it, then take care to only heat the sauce through after stirring in the sour cream. Do not allow the sauce to simmer.

Temper the sour cream mixture by stirring in a few large spoonfuls of the hot sauce before adding the sour cream to the pot.

Cook over low heat while stirring until the sauce thickens slightly; about 3 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if needed


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I would go with the coconut oil - although I don't eat a lot of meat these days my family would LOVE this (actually I think I would too) - GREAT flavors:)

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