November 9th, 2009



We have a good friend, Roger, who was born in South Africa of Hungarian parents, and therefore grew up immersed in an amalgam of food heritages.

He speaks–rhapsodically–of Peri-Peri Prawns, jumbo crustaceans caught in the Indian Ocean, spiced and grilled in a sweet-hot Portuguese-Mozambique meld…
… and, in turn, of traditional Eastern European dishes: hearty gulyas, savory stews infused with true Hungarian paprika—soul-stirring fare that speaks of Franz Liszt and gypsy violins and bleak romantic countryside rolling along the Danube.

the bag of paprika

Early in the summer, Roger gave me a bag of The Real Deal, which is what you must have in order to create this rich and rustic cuisine. Most paprika that we find at the grocery is flavorless, and used only for a dash of color over deviled eggs and such. Look for Hungarian on the label.

I have been waiting for the right time to put this Paprika to good use—so that I can say Paprikash! with bravado—I love the sound and rhythm of the word. This meant waiting for Tennessee warm weather to shift.

November: The time for Chicken Paprikash! has arrived.


It gave me the chance to do a little research. I found the most intriguing information from Marc of NoRecipes .

Marc has a great foodblog, and his story about Japanese and Magyar/Hungarian languages running parallel root lines is fascinating. I also appreciated some of his recipe tips (even though it’s a “no recipe” recipe site) and adapted my recipe from his.

browned chicken sauteed veg

There are not many ingredients—it’s really how they are prepared that makes the difference. Browning the chicken well, with salt, pepper, and paprika helps to form a flavor-packed foundation for the Paprikash. Cooking the peppers and onions with the browned bits left in the pot from the chicken lends a richer, deeper note to the stew.

Chicken Paprikash

Olive Oil
2-3 Bone-in, skin-on Chicken Breasts
Salt and Black Pepper
2 large Onions, chopped
2 Red or Yellow Bell Peppers, diced
2 Banana Peppers or 1 Poblano Pepper, diced
1/3 cup Hungarian Paprika
1 1/4 cup Vegetable Stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup Sour Cream

In a large skillet on medium heat, slowly brown the seasoned chicken breasts (dusted with salt, pepper, paprika) in some olive oil, taking care to brown all sides.

Remove the chicken and add diced peppers and onions. Sauté until soft and somewhat caramelized, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan left from the chicken.

Pour in vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if that’s what you have.)
Add the paprika, and stir until it is well mixed. Return the chicken breasts and braise for 30 minutes or so.

Remove the breasts, discard the skin, and pull the meat off the bones. Cut into bite sized cubes and return to the skillet. Fold in the sour cream and continue simmering. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Serves 4.

Lovely over egg noodles! Paprikash!

smothered in skillet

The whole chicken breasts,smothered, simmer in the paprika-infused broth (which the paprika causes to thicken.)

off the bone with sour cream

The meat is pulled off the bone, cut into chunks, and returned to the stew. At this point, the sour cream is folded in, and gently warmed.
The chicken will continue to cook.

closeup purple hero(2)


There, I have said it enough.

Savory-sweet, with a little heat, this is comforting, cold weather food: delicious over egg noodles, garnished with fresh chives and dillweed.

Posted in Meats/Poultry, Recipes

11 Responses to “Paprikash!”
  1. Marc @ NoRecipes Says:

    MMmmm looks delicious. Reminds me I need to make this again. Nice job adapting it to your tastes, that’s really what “no recipes” is about:-D

  2. Heather Says:

    This reminds me of chicken caccitori that I make only with a twist! A wonderful twist I can’t wait to try. Thank you Nancy.

  3. zoe Says:

    Aw man I have to try this recipe! I love love paprika with chicken.

  4. Fluffy Says:

    Holy-Hungary! this is amazing…

  5. Fresh Local and Best Says:

    Wow! You’ve peaked my curiosity about what I’m missing out on – I’ve never had the real deal, although I love Hungarian paprika! This dish looks fabulous! I adore Marc’s blog, it lends great insight into food history and recipes.

  6. marva Says:

    Mike will really LOVE this. I know you will find this hard to believe Nancy but I actually have “Hungarian” Paprika…it makes it so great when you have all the ingredients at home.

  7. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Good for you, Marva! let me know how it comes out-

  8. Katarina Says:

    Can’t wait to make this one!

  9. claudia @ ceF Says:

    i’m part hungarian but it’s the jewish part that wouldn’t have allowed the sour cream and the chicken to co-mingle. fortunately those days are behind me.

    looks GREAT.

  10. goodfoodmatters Says:

    True, Claudia–and I also discovered that the flavor, pre-sour cream-addition, was excellent.

  11. Matt Says:

    Didn’t have a bag of “The Real Deal” but loved this dish regardless. The sauce is outstanding with a subtle spiciness. If you’ve got the justification and time to make a double batch, I highly recommend it for some tasty leftovers…

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