Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Can you tell it's been a busy year? I don't know how this blog fell by the wayside, but it did.  And what's really sad is, I love doing this.  It soothes my need to do something creative other than cooking!!!  So I promise to keep you all enthralled on a more regular basis.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to create a feeling of well-being and for those of you in the frozen North craving comfort food, I present the ultimate in winter comfort food:


This is pretty much all you need to create a delicious paprikash.  I normally use bone in chicken thighs, however I was making this for a picky person who only eats boneless chicken breasts.  Know that you will have a greater depth of chickeney-ness if you use bone-in, dark meat..and of course, you can remove the skin if you are concerned with the fat content.  
Do not throw out your chicken skin.See schmaltz comment below.

 Start with a good amount of onions, the more the better. In fact, I like almost equal parts of onion and chicken.  I use whatever oil I have on hand...hopefully schmaltz. That wonderful fat that is rendered from chicken skin.  So if you decide to purchase skin-on chicken pieces, remove the fat and place it in a skillet. Slowly, slowly, SLOWLY over very low heat, take that chicken skin and render all the fat out of it. It is truly the original "Liquid Gold". 
Use this as the fat to cook the onions down until they look like this.
While your onions are slowing cooking, start to season your chicken.  I use kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and the best Hungarian Paprika I can purchase.  Please do not buy the large jar for .99 at the discount store for this recipe.  The flavor comes from the paprika.  I also use some smoked paprika just because I like it.  I'm not sure you can actually use too much paprika.  Start with what you think is right and then double it!

Remove the onions from the pot and add your seasoned chicken in one layer.  Yes, I know this pot will probably give my family cancer as all the Teflon has come off throughout the years, but this is THE paprikash pot and who am I to defy tradition?  When all the chicken has been browned, remove it to a platter. 

                                                What you will have left is called THE FOND.  
                                    Those crunchy, browned little bits that are bursting with flavor.  
                                                  Do not ever throw this away.  EVER.
                           This is what creates the basis for such delicious, flavorful broths/gravies.  

At this point, slowly add your chicken broth. Yes, canned is okay.  Homemade stock would be ever so much better, but I want you to have this on the table in under an hour.  Scrape up all THE FOND until is becomes one with the chicken stock.  Add your onions and chicken back to the pot and you will have something that looks like this. Use enough chicken broth to just cover the chicken..more than what is shown in this picture.

You can also add some garlic.  I like to add one green, medium-heat, whole  Hungarian pepper. If I don't have that sometimes I add just a pinch of dried, red pepper flakes.  This isn't rocket science. There are probably thousands of variations of paprikash and you have the opportunity to create another one!

Simmer until the chicken is tender..which shouldn't be more than 30 minutes for boneless chicken breasts.

I like to serve the paprikash with Sophie's Choice Spaetzle:

One of the perks of living near a large Hungarian population is being able to purchase ready made spaetzle.  This is almost as good as homemade and I didn't have to make it!

I am thrilled you enjoy your paprikash with sour cream, tomatoes, sour cream, peppers, etc.
That's what makes the world interesting.