Hungarian Chicken Paprikash
- Chicken, preferably legs and thighs, bone in and skinless with all excess fat removed, around 1 kg (you can leave skin on if you prefer, or use boneless thigh fillets chunks, adjust cooking time accordingly, weight to be around 1.5 to 1.7 kg)
- Salt, to taste
- Crushed Black Pepper, to taste
For the sauce
- Brown/Yellow Onions, finely sliced, 2 large, around 3 cups
- Garlic, peeled and kept whole, 3-4 cloves (optional)
- Red or Green Bell Pepper, sliced into thin long strips, 1 (optional)
- Hungarian Sweet Paprika, 4 tbsp
- Chicken Stock, ¾ – 1 cup
- Bayleaf, 1
- Salt, to taste
- Crushed Black Pepper, to taste
- Oil, 1 tbsp
- Sour Cream, ¾ cup
- Fresh Parsley leaves, finely chopped, about 3 tbsp
Pour the required amount of sour cream in a bowl and leave it on the kitchen counter to get to room temperature before you start cooking.
Get the chicken to room temperature and pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper all sides of the chicken pieces.
If using chicken with skin on, follow the step below and fry the chicken first; if using skinless chicken, chicken gets added only after the onions:
Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a large heavy bottom pan/skillet or Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan skin side down and fry over medium high heat in batches until golden brown – around 4 minutes each side. Remove and keep aside.
Add the sliced onions and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onions are tender and just starting to brown – around 6 to 7 minutes
Reduce the heat to medium low. Add salt, pepper and paprika and fry, stirring constantly until the paprika is very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Be careful as paprika can burn easily and become bitter.
If using skinless chicken: add a couple of tablespoons of stock to the paprika onion mix in the pan. Stir and add the chicken to the pan. Mix well and make sure the spiced onion mix coats each piece of chicken. Brown the chicken for about 5 minutes (stock added to prevent the paprika from burning)
Add the peppers and tomatoes to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add in the bayleaf.
If using chicken with skin, return the fried chicken to the pan (skin side up), along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone – about 50 minutes.
Stir in the chopped parsley.
Once the chicken is cooked, temper the sour cream by whisking one spoon at a time of hot liquid from the chicken to the bowl of sour cream. (This will raise the temperature of the sour cream gently and it won’t curdle when added to the hot chicken.) Once tempered, pour the sour cream mixture into the pot and stir to combine.
Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes – don’t let it boil after sour cream has been added.
Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Serve with noodles, potatoes, pasta or rice.
- I could and should tell you that there is no real substitute of Hungarian Sweet Paprika and this dish won’t taste the same without it and you must must must get it…BUT, here are a couple of options you can try: 2 tbsp Regular Paprika/Sweet Paprika with ½ tbsp Hot Paprika OR 2 tbsp Regular Paprika/Sweet Paprika with ½ tbsp Cayenne OR 2 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder with ½ tbsp regular Chilli Powder
- To make your own Sour Cream, click here
- This is typically made with bone in and skin on chicken pieces. I have personally never liked the look or the taste of skin on chicken in a slow cooked “curry” and hence always use skinless chicken pieces. Bone in or boneless depends on what I have available at home but as always I never use boneless chicken breast for anything which even remotely looks like a “curry”.
- To avoid confusion in the way I have written the recipe – reinstating – chicken with skin on needs to be fried golden crisp and then added to cooked onion mix whereas skinless chicken gets added in only after frying the onions. You can of course choose to do your own thing but IMO, the above method results in juicier chicken pieces.
Additional Optional Ingredients
- Caraway seeds or even cumin, whole or ground, ½ tsp: if using whole, add with the onions, if using ground, add with paprika. (I have used only once, didn’t feel the need to add them ever again)
- Tomato Paste, 2 tbsp or Tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped with their juice, 2 medium, about ¾ cup : add with peppers ( Adds a nice depth but not essential, I add only when I remember to!!the one pictured doesn’t have tomatoes )
- With the amount of onions I use (almost double the amount of most other recipes), I have never felt the need to the add flour to thicken the sauce. If you want to try adding flour, you can either coat the chicken pieces with flour before frying or add in about a tablespoon of flour once the onions are soft or whisk in about a tablespoon of flour to the sour cream before tempering it.
To make a low calorie version
- Use Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream
- Skim off fat from sauce with a large spoon before adding Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt
- Use skinless chicken
- Use leaner pieces of chicken
- Instead of stirring in the Sour Cream into the sauce, serve it separately and let everyone add it to their own individual servings