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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash) (Hungarian)

A slightly more elaborate dish consisting of braised chicken in a rich and creamy tomato sauce with home-made dumplings tossed with butter and herbs, and some bell pepper wedges. Strongly flavored with Hungarian paprika.
It takes a bit longer to make than your average chicken meal and it includes a few steps, but if you have a couple of hours on a chilly afternoon when you want to push away the gloom and make some magic on the stove, this is the recipe you're looking for.
I don't know what part of the world you're from but back home in Romania this was a pretty well-known dish considering our close neighboring Hungarians :).
This particular recipe is among the most complete and well-balanced I've encountered, and it comes from home-cook Olga Kolozy, via Saveur. (And I was inspired also from how I've encountered the dish prepared by the ethnic Hungarians in our country, so don't be surprised if the recipe is a bit modified).

Last year: Mini Nutella and walnut pies.
Two years ago: Caribbean romance (cocktail), French chocolate mousse and Carrot bread (with walnuts).

Ingredients (serves 2):
  • 125 g flour (plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg
  • 60 ml water
  • 2 large chicken legs (500 g total weight), each cut in half
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying (sunflower oil to stick with the traditional version)
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 300 g tomato puree
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 100 ml sour cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 bunch of dill (20-25 g)

Mix the flour and the salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the egg, lightly beaten and the water.

Mix well until a thick and even dough forms. Bring enough salted water to a boil and drop walnut-sized bits of dough in it. Boil the dumplings until tender, for about 6 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, season the chicken pieces and dredge them through 1 tablespoon of flour. Heat the oil and start frying them while the dumplings finish boiling.

When the dumplings are done, drain them and rise with cool water. Set them aside for later.
The chicken should be fried for 4-5 minutes on each side until browned. Afterwards, remove it from the pan  and put the paprika in the heated oil.

Mix around a little and add the chopped onion:

Let the onion fry, stirring once in a while, for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile wash and core the bell pepper and cut it in half. Chop up one half and cut the other one in long strips. After the onion is tender, add the tomato puree and the chopped half of bell pepper to the pan:

Let the sauce cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the chicken pieces and bring to a boil. Cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes, turning chicken on the other side mid-time.
When it's done, uncover but leave it on the heat. In a small bowl or glass mix the cream and the other 2 tablespoons of flour. Gradually stir in about 100 ml of the hot sauce in the pan until the cream mixture becomes hot itself. Then pour it slowly back into the pan, stirring as you pour:

When all is well incorporated, remove from the heat and let it slowly cool.
In another pan melt the butter and add the dumplings. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and add the chopped dill. Mix well.
To serve, transfer 2 chicken pieces and half of the sauce to each serving plate, leaving a side bare. Fill the empty space with dill dumplings and the reserved fresh strips of bell pepper. It's done, dig in! :)

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