Back in 2008, I was still an unmarried woman. Engaged, yes. But not yet married. I had been cooking for a while but not consistently because Mom was the main cook at home. I had been tinkering around and was just discovering the massive world of foodblogs.
As I was browsing around, not really knowing what I was looking for, I spied on a recipe that said Hungarian Paprika Chicken. It immediately transported me back to this fancy restaurant I’d been to barely 3 times in my life but made an enormous impression in my young teenage mind. You see, my family is not big on dining in nice swanky restaurants. We were always very simple in terms of food and would generally go to stirfry places if we were to ever eat out, which was not very often.
When I first came across Strawberry Fields (now defunct), I was but a very young teen. Mom and I decided to walk in to try. I can’t express to you how grown up I felt. A small cozy Western restaurant with dim lights, proper wooden chairs, flower in the centre of the table with waiters that wore bowties! Western food was only eaten on very special occasions. I spied something called…. yes you guessed it… “Hungarian Paprika Chicken with Butter Rice” on the menu. I don’t know why I didn’t order chicken chop, or fish and chips. Maybe I was already an adventurous eater back then.
I didn’t know what paprika was. Nor did I know where Hungary is located (I was *ehem* ignorant). But I wanted Hungarian Paprika Chicken. And I was changed that day. That was positively the mostest deliciousest chicken and rice I’d ever had. And the next 2 times I was there, I ordered that very same thing. No, I didn’t want anything else. I only wanted THAT. When I went back some time after, the restaurant closed down and moved elsewhere. I was so disappointed.
And that was that. Until…. I saw that recipe. I think I remember my head spinning with excitement. I had to make it. I just had to! And I did. Many times. 🙂 Many yummy times. So I’m here sharing with you this very special memory of a very special dish that filled my young heart with such joy once upon a time.
The original recipe called for rendered chicken fat. Since I was cooking a whole chicken with skin on, there was plenty of fat around already. But if you are a little more health conscious than I am, feel free to use chicken breast of skinless thighs with a bit of olive oil. I also feel searing the chicken pieces gives it a better flavour.
It was just great over rice. I froze half of this for a future day. It was just as good as when we had it fresh. I’m never going to stop making this. Ever.
“I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” (2 Samuel 22:4)
Hungarian Paprika Chicken
adapted from Joy the Baker
1 whole free-range Chicken, chopped into 16 pieces (or bite size pieces)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 yellow Onions, chopped
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp Hungarian Paprika (more if preferred)
1/2 cup water (or broth)
1/2 tbsp flour stirred with 1 tbsp water
Salt & Pepper
Natural Yogurt or Sour Cream, for topping
- On a hot pan with olive oil, sear chicken pieces until fat is rendered and chicken is browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and reserve.
- Sauté onions in the rendered fat until translucent.
- Add paprika powder and stir in. Add tomatoes and stir well.
- Toss in reserved chicken pieces, 1 tsp salt and some pepper with water. Bring to boil then cover and leave it simmering until chicken is tender and sauce has reduced, about 15-20 minutes.
- Once chicken is fully cooked through, crank up heat and stir in the flour-water slurry and let the sauce thicken, stirring constantly.
- Check for seasoning and dish it up.
- Serve with a drizzle of yogurt or dollop of sour cream. Best with rice or egg noodles.