One of the things I like to do is look for dishes that represent different ethnicities, especially those that follow my family heritage. My parents’ ancestors came to the U.S. on different paths – my mother from England (by way of Virginia and the Carolinas) and my father from France (by way of Canada and New England). They both trace back into Western and Central Europe, so there are plenty of ethnic roads to be taken when exploring recipes.
While I don’t know for sure whether either of them have any heritage that passed through Hungary, I came across something very interesting about the country. It seems that the spice paprika is somewhat of a staple like salt and pepper, being incorporated into so many different foods that it’s more or less their “official spice”. That intrigued me, and I started looking for traditional dishes that use it.
This is one of them. The name translates into simply “paprika chicken” and seems to be a favorite for many families there. The recipe I used was handed down from the cook’s husband’s Hungarian grandmother, who made it frequently while he was growing up. There are several variations of ingredients, which I suppose reflects how families try to make a recipe uniquely their own. But how can you go wrong with Grandma’s recipe?
Adapted from Recipes from Europe
Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikás Csirke)
A traditional Hungarian family dish using paprika, a spice that is so prevalent in local dishes it has been called the "official spice" of Hungary.
Adapted from Recipes from Europe
Rinse off the chicken pieces and pat dry. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté about 5 minutes or until they turn translucent, stirring frequently. Add the tomato and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the paprika along with the chicken broth and mix thoroughly.
Add the chicken, ensuring there is enough liquid to just cover the pieces (add a small amount of additional broth if needed). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes to allow some of the liquid to cook off.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Increase heat to medium, mix in the sour cream, and cook for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. If the sauce is still thin, add a cornstarch slurry using two teaspoons cornstarch and two teaspoons cold water and stir until it reaches the desired consistency. Check taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat.
Add the chicken back into the pan to reheat and coat with sauce. Serve immediately.
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 544
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 45g70%
- Saturated Fat 13g65%
- Cholesterol 114mg38%
- Sodium 746mg32%
- Potassium 577mg17%
- Total Carbohydrate 16g6%
- Dietary Fiber 5g20%
- Sugars 8g
- Protein 22g44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- There are three main types of paprika, any of which could be used depending on your tastes:
- Regular (sometimes called sweet paprika)
- If possible, obtain imported Hungarian paprika for the most authentic flavor.
- Serve over short pasta (preferably spaetzle but other pastas such as gemelli, fusili, or cavatappi will work), rice, or potatoes.