Hungarian Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash can be called as the alpha and omega of the Hungarian cuisine, this classic dish is the highlight of Sunday lunches. It’s one of the most famous variations on the paprikash preparations, foreigners usually mention it among the Hungarian dishes they know or have already heard about. Customs vary from house to house, so there isn’t any ultimate chicken paprikash recipe that stands above all, everyone has its own formula.

Chicken stew can be made in two ways: pörkölt or paprikash. The base of both methods is the same: sauté onion, add meat, season with paprika and pour in water. The difference between paprikash and pörkölt is that paprikash is cooked in more liquid and always thickened with flour and sour cream, pörkölt is cooked in less liquid (for this reason it can’t be left unattended on the stove for long, it has to be stirred very often) and doesn’t contain any thickening agent.

Chicken paprikash or pörkölt is always served with some kind of boiled noodles. Its traditional side dish is nokedli, which is made from a thick batter and pushed through a special tool into boiling water. But if you don’t have that gadget or you are not in the mood to make your own noodles, store-bought pasta will do (and you won’t be damned 😉 ).

Hungarian chicken paprikashChicken paprikash | photo: zserbo.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 free-range chicken (~1,5-2 kg or ~4 lb), cut into pieces
  • 80 g (~2,5 oz) smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 dessertspoons sweet ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2-3 dessertspoons salt
  • 1 tomato, roughly diced
  • 1 wax pepper, roughly diced
  • 100 ml (~1/2 cup) water
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

Fry the bacon cubes until they release enough lards. Add finely chopped onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent.

Pour in a little water to prevent paprika from burning. Add hot and sweet paprika, then the chicken pieces and stir to cover them with the onion-paprika mix thoroughly.

Pour in water, just enough to cover three-quarters of the food.  Add salt, caraway seeds, tomato and wax pepper, and over medium heat cook for an hour. (If you want to eat csirkepörkölt, at this stage turn off the heat when the meat is tender, and serve.)

CsirkepörköltCsirkepörkölt | photo: zserbo.com

In a small bowl mix together 100 ml of water, 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of sour cream. Ladle a little gravy to the thickening to dilute and equalize the temperature. Pour the thickening in a fine stream into the stew while stirring constantly. Cook for 3-4 minutes till the liquid slightly thickens.

Serve with nokedli or other boiled noodles.

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