I was first introduced to this Hungarian favorite many, many years ago. Friend George, who is of Hungarian descent, prepared it and gave me his recipe. During our recent visit to Budapest, I bought some genuine Hungarian paprika. Now to put it to use. I decided to do some paprikash recipe research. There are many, all variations of George’s recipe. The following is touted as “authentic.” I basically followed it with some tweaks.. Friend and cookbook author Sharon Hudgins sent me her husband’s recipe, much like the one that follows.
2 tablespoons pork lard (or butter). I have never used lard, but I wanted this to be “authentic,” so I used lard.
3 pounds chicken pieces, (bone in, skin on). Bone-in chicken breasts are not to be found in France, so I used legs and thighs.
2 medium yellow onions (very finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced
1 Hungarian bell pepper, diced, optional. I used a green pepper.
3-4 tablespoons quality imported sweet Hungarian paprika. Sharon uses 1 tablespoon hot paprika, 3 tablespoons sweet. I had purchased smoked paprika too. Sharon suggested I use 1 tablespoon smoked, 3 sweet. I did. Next time I may substitute 1/2 tablespoon hot, the rest sweet.
2 cups Aneto chicken broth (100% all natural). I do not make my own chicken broth, but since I wanted this to be authentic, I ordered Aneto on-line. Pricey. Did it make a difference? Not sure.
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup full fat sour cream ( in France we use creme fraîche)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream.
2 tablespoons brandy (this is Tom Hudgins’s addition. A little alcohol never hurts. I added it)
Heat lard in a heavy pot (stovetop casserole) and brown the chicken on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate. In the same oil, add onions and sauté until golden brown. Add garlic, tomatoes and pepper if using. Saute another 2 -3 minutes. Add brandy to deglaze the pot. Remove from heat and stir in paprika, salt and pepper. (Paprika becomes bitter if scorched.)
Return chicken to pot and place it back on the heat. Pour in the chicken broth. The chicken should be mostly covered. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 40 minutes (I found this was too long. I tested after 30 minutes. The chicken was done. Remove chicken and transfer to a plate.
In a small bowl, stir flour into sour cream/cream mixture to form a smooth paste. Stir cream mixture into the sauce, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to sauce and simmer to heat throu
Serve with Hungarian nokedli, like German Spaetzle, but short and stubby. I was going to make Spaetzle. I have a Spaetzlehobel from our days in Germany. Instead I took the lazy route and used package Spaetzle. Egg noodles can also be used.
Recipe serves six. I had planed to serve this to guests, a couple, but they had to cancel. Since I had purchased all the ingredients, I made it for my husband and myself. There was enough for two meals for two, plus another batch frozen. It is tasty, a perfect comfort food.