Winter’s Coming: Chicken Paprikash

I grew up in an old and established neighborhood. At the end of our block was the granite stone wall separating us from the Duke University East Campus. The wall was high enough to keep out dogs but not kids dropping their dogs over and running with them on the lush grass beneath old oaks. It was also low enough for adults to shinny over and walk about in peace or picnic or for teens to find a quiet place to smooch under the moon.

The wall also did not separate visiting professors to Duke and when housing permitted, to move into our neighborhood and to share their culture with our Southern culture. When I was around seven, a Hungarian professor moved into the empty Bailey house along with his wife, kids, mother, and goat. The goat sometimes liberated himself and roamed about. Luckily for us, the professor’s mother was often the one to come and retrieve him. An ample and friendly soul, she soon knew everyone and everyone knew her.

Thanks to her, we all became lovers of Gulyás, cheese strudel, dobos cake, stuffed cabbage, Flódni, and….chicken paprikash. Some of the foods we knew but with a different angle instead of Hungarian. She always said, our country may be small but our food is vigorous! And it was.

This week, a local grocery had an amazing sale on whole chickens. Other than roasting, I pondered what to do with the one of several chickens I bought. A cold blustery day I thought, roast chicken…booooring. And then, it hit me – spicy, warming, rich chicken paprikash. Perfect. I cut one of the chickens up and even now, this lovely dish is simmering on my stove top in my cast iron dutch oven. If you or your family likes all the chicken pieces, whole is the cheapest way to purchase. There are a zillion videos on You Tube showing how to cut up a whole chicken. All you need is a good sharp knife. Don’t have one? Really???? Get one. And get some good Hungarian paprika.

For the paprika in this recipe, don’t use your grandmother’s paprika unless your grandmother is Hungarian. The red stuff on most grocery shelves that is mainly used to sprinkle on deviled eggs, the top of potato salad or anyplace you want to add a bit of red color is not the same thing as good quality, smoked, sweet, peppery Hungarian paprika. it is a little bit of an investment, but you will be so glad you invested time to find it and money to buy it. You’ll never go back to bland “paprika” again. You can also purchase online.

There are variations on this dish, of course. A friend of mine from Philadelphia used bacon grease and served over broad egg noodles. Many people do not use the bacon grease and serve with dumplings or spaetzal. However, this is a happy red dish that will warm you inside and out. Eat with a sweet white Hungarian wine or lots and lots of water. Thank you Pieter for this recipe, which you said was handed down from your grandmother.

Chicken Paprikash
2 tbs. bacon grease
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt
3 tbs. paprika
1 (2 to 3 pound), whole chicken, cut into pieces, skin intact
1 cup water
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes in juice
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1(8 ounce) container sour cream (can use low fat)

Heat bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt, and paprika. Stir together and saute until onion is translucent, using low heat so as not to burn the paprika.  You may need to add a bit more grease or a touch of butter. Add chicken pieces and pour water over all. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour, adding more water if necessary.

Stir in tomatoes, reserving liquid. I use whole tomatoes and coarsely chop before adding. You can also used diced tomatoes. Stir tomato liquid into a medium bowl with flour and sour cream; mix until well blended, then slowly add mixture to chicken, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture is thick. Serve with noodles, dumplings, or spaetzal. Serves four.

Public Domain Clip Art

Public Domain Clip Art

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Nov 18, 2014 @ 17:46:25

    Supper in a pot. Love it. I have three whole chickens in the freezer. Time to do something other than roast them. Great timing, Kanzen. I’ll need to skip the bacon fat as my daughter won’t partake. Do you think it’ll make a lot of difference? ❤ ❤ ❤

    I buy my herbs and spices at a store called The Bulk Barn. I can buy anything a spoon at a time if I like?


  2. Bernice
    Nov 18, 2014 @ 21:02:39

    A wonder memory and a great dish on this cold, wintery day!


  3. M-R
    Nov 19, 2014 @ 01:59:40

    ‘Bacon grease’ ??? What can I use instead ? (please !)


  4. Master of Something Yet
    Nov 19, 2014 @ 06:40:22

    This sounds so delicious, Kanzen. Paprikash always makes me think of the scene from When Harry Met Sally when Harry suggests they talk in a silly voice for the rest of the day. “Waiter! There is too much pepper in my paprikash but I would be pleased to partake of your pecan pie.” (I can’t say pecan pie without a funny voice either. 🙂 )


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 19, 2014 @ 06:48:46

      That is a smile maker. I had forgotten a out that scene. 🙂 you can sub vegetable oil or olive oil for the bacon grease. Than you so much for reading and commenting.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  5. coalblack
    Jul 07, 2018 @ 09:14:49

    I love this stuff. s soon as I saw it in your suggested posts, I came right over.


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 07, 2018 @ 10:27:30

      It is good stuff. The 3 tbs. Is just a guideline. Add more or less of the paprika. Sloth approved.

      Get Outlook for Android



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