Not all paprika is created equal. To get the real flavour of a Hungarian Paprikás Csirke, make sure you get a good quality Hungarian-style Sweet Paprika.
Another note, if you don’t have a nokedli maker to make the tiny dumplings, some cooks recommend forcing the dough through a cheese grater. I have to admit that I ended up in a sticky, gooey mess trying that. I ended up grabbing a flat cutting board and a knife and scraped little bits directly into the boiling water. The dumplings were a little bigger than they would be with a nokedli maker, but it was much easier to do and a lot easier to clean up.
Finally, when finishing the sauce with the sour cream and flour mixture, make sure you temper your cream mixture by adding a spoonful of sauce to it, giving it a stir, then a little more. This will slowly heat the sour cream so that it doesn’t curdle. When you add it to the sauce in the pot, also do it gradually instead of dumping it in. You want to maintain a nice rich colour and not over thicken.
Chicken Paprikash with Nokedli
The classic Hungarian chicken dish with traditional dumplings.
- 2 lbs chicken thighs, with bones and skin
- 2 medium or 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper or Hungarian pepper, cut small
- 1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp lard or rendered fat for frying
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups water
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- handful of parsley, chopped.
Season chicken thighs well with salt and pepper.
Heat fat on medium high in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or casserole.
Brown chicken in fat with skin side down for 5 to 8 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Turn and brown the other side for about 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.
Pour off all but a tablespoon of fat. Cut pepper, discarding seeds and ribs. Chop onion. Add to chicken fat and fry, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
When onions are starting to turn colour and the pepper is a vivid green, remove from heat. Let the pot cool for a minute, then add paprika. Stir paprika to thoroughly coat the vegetables and let it cook in the hot pot for a minute, but do not return it to heat. Paprika scorches very easily and it will ruin your sauce.
Stir in the chicken stock and return the pot to the burner. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer.
Nestle the chicken thighs in the sauce and cover. Let simmer for 45 mins.
After 45 mins and when the chicken is very tender, remove the thighs to finish the sauce. Meanwhile, make nokedli and then return to finishing the paprikash.
To finish the sauce: Mix sour cream and flour together until well blended. Add a small amount of cooking liquid to the sour cream mixture to avoid curdling. Slowly add more and more liquid until the mixture is doubled in volume, then begin adding it slowly to the sauce in the pot. Stir well after each addition. Keep your eye on the colour, you don't want it to become too pale. Don't feel as if you have to use all the cream mixture. If you are happy with the colour and consistency, stop. Nestle the chicken thighs back in the finished sauce and let them warm up.
Mix salt and flour together in a large bowl.
Beat the egg into the water then pour into the flour.
Mix into a soft, sticky dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
Force dough through a nokedli maker or a cheese grater into the bowling water for a fine dumpling. Or you can cut and scrape scraps of dough on a cutting board with a spoon or a knife into the water. I personally find the second method much easier, but it will produce a larger dumpling.
As the dumplings float to the surface, remove them with a spider strainer or a slotted spoon. Work quickly as they will cool very fast.
When the dumplings are done, dump water and add a half stick of butter to the pot. Melt with garlic and parsley. Toss the nokedli in the butter to heat it up. Serve with the paprikash.