Chicken Paprikash, also known as Paprika Chicken and Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, is not only the most popular and most delicious Hungarian dish, but I think it is one of the wonders of Hungarian cuisine.
Let’s take a precise look at the preparation of chicken paprikash: the only spice it contains is sweet ground paprika. This alone gives this dish such a great flavour profile, that it would end up in a tie at worst when comparing with the great sauces of e.g. French or Indian cuisine.
The way to get the proper sauce is exactly how the essence of cooking a perfect chicken paprikash can be captured. The main secret lies in adding only a small amount of water while cooking, as the sauce is “produced” partly by the onion, so prefer add only a little water at a time.
It’s other secret is that chicken paprikash is made from bone-in chicken. So to cook an authentic paprika chicken you will need a 2-½ – 3-½ pounds (1,2 – 1,6 kg) whole chicken, and cook the whole chicken – even if you do not eat e.g. the chicken back. You can discard those parts after cooking, but they will give your chicken paprikash an unforgettable authenticity. Get and enjoy the incomparable taste of it!
Chicken Paprikash Recipe
- First cut up the whole chicken. Detach drumsticks and thighs, cut chicken breast into quarters (first cut once lengthwise than cut both halves crosswise). There is only the chicken back left, cut it crosswise in half. Do not remove meat from the bone.
- Finely chop two medium onions.
- Sautee the onions over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes in a large pot with 3 tablespoons lard or oil until they become lightly golden.
- When golden, take the onions off the stove. Add 4 tablespoons ground paprika, stir.
- Add the meat, put back onto the heat, and continue searing. Sear over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, stir regularly until each side turns pale grey.
- Add about 1 to 1 ½ cup(s) (200-400 ml) water, not covering the meat completely.
- Add the chopped tomato and green paprika and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
- To make the meat tender, simmer it over medium-low heat, covered. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir once thoroughly. Afterward I do not recommend you to stir it during cooking, because the meat will fall apart too easily.
- Cook for approximately 45 minutes. Let the meat come off the bone. Partly that’s the ins and outs of a saucy chicken paprikash. If all the liquids have completely evaporated, add some water during cooking. Add only a small amount of water at once, approximately 1/5 cup (50 ml).
- Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes, until water completely evaporates. Make your sauce thick!
- Take your pot off the stove. Mix 2/3 cup of sour cream (150 ml) with 1 tablespoon plain flour in a separate bowl. Add some sauce and stir to combine. Keep stirring until no lumps remain.
- Pour the mixture into the pot. Move your pot gently and stir the ingredients carefully, do not make the meat fall apart. Stir until completely combined.
- Put the pot back on the heat. Cook at medium heat, bring it to a boil and cook it for approx. 3 to 4 minutes to get its final consistency.
Note: Chicken paprikash can also be made from different types of fresh chicken pieces. If so, buy an estimated amount of a whole chicken, i.e. 2 thighs and a whole breast with bones and some wings.
The amount of water you add will depend on the size of your chicken, whether you use all parts of your chicken, and it is also upon the size of your pot. Remember: less is more – the small amount of water is what makes the uncomparable sauce of the authentic chicken paprikash. Prefer adding a little water regularly while cooking, do not let the water completely cover the meat at first.
Your Chicken Paprikash with the added water and vegetables is ready to cook.
Your authentic chicken paprikash is ready. The best way to enjoy Paprika Chicken is when it is served with galuska dumplings (a.k.a. Spätzle).
Hungarian name: Paprikás csirke