My all-time favorite dish growing up was my dad’s chicken paprika, a Sunday dinner treat during the cold winter months. Of course, no recipe is written down and I have yet to try and recreate his version, although I think I could do it. His big pot of chicken legs and thighs, simmered in onions, chicken stock, generously seasoned with paprika and finished off with sour cream ~ I could drink that gravy!
Early in my marriage and living in Chicago with two little ones and another on the way, I came across a recipe for Chicken Paprikash in one of my cooking magazines. I gave it a try, and it had the same wonderful flavor profile as my dad’s. It wasn’t quite like he made his, but it was so good. I made it for him once, and, much to my surprise, he was impressed ~ he thought it was really good and wanted to know exactly how I made it.
Chicken Paprika or Paprikas or Paprikash, whatever you call it, is classic Hungarian comfort food. It really is just several simple ingredients ~ chicken, onion, paprika, chicken stock and sour cream. The gravy is rich and heavily laden with paprika. I use sweet paprika and swap a bit out with smoked paprika. Love the addition of a little smokiness to the gravy.
When my dad made his chicken paprika, we had it with his homemade Bohemian-style bread dumplings to sop up all the sour cream gravy. I serve this version with egg noodles. This Chicken Paprikash generously serves two, and can easily be doubled.
For a fairly simple, traditional and quick Chicken Paprikash, try this ~ it will warm you right up on these cold winter nights, guaranteed. Here’s to you Papa ~ I’ll be trying your way with dumplings next time.
Classic Hungarian comfort food ~ Chicken Paprikash
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into ½-inch-wide strips
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 3 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1½ tbsp butter
- ½ cup onion, chopped ~ small dice
- 1 large plum tomato, seeded, chopped ~ small dice
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth, preferably homemade ~ if using canned, use low sodium
- ¼ cup sour cream
Place chicken in small bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, salt and pepper. Toss to combine well.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate and set aside.
Add remaining ½ tbsp butter to same skillet and sauté onion until softened, about 3 minutes.
Add remaining 2 teaspoons sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (can use 3 teaspoons sweet paprika, omitting smoked), stir for 10 seconds to combine.
Add chopped tomato and stir to soften a bit, about 1 minute.
Add chicken stock/broth and stir and bring to a boil. Cook at a steady simmer until slightly thickened and sauce thinly coats a spoon, about 6 minutes.
Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan with sauce mixture, reduce heat to low. Add sour cream and whisk/stir to combine and heat through ~ do not boil. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve with buttered egg noodles or bread dumplings.
This recipe generously serves two and can easily be doubled.
*Adapted from Bon Appétit December, 1996