Chicken Paprika (or Paprikás Csirke in Hungarian) is one of my favourite Hungarian dishes.
Traditional paprikás recipes – as with goulash and pörkölt – combine fat, onions and paprika to create a rich harmony of flavours known as the “Trilogy” of Hungarian cuisine.
The following recipe was adapted from cooking classes, cookbooks, the advice of friends and of course trial and error. Although it takes some time to prepare and cook, the recipe itself is fairly easy and the end result is sure to please!
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Serve with: Spaetzle /Spätzle (or Hungarian Nokedli)
- 1 chicken (apx. 2.5 lbs) or 4 chicken legs
- 1 – 2 med. sized Dutch onions
- 5 tbsp pork lard (*can substitute with oil)
- 3 tbsp paprika powder (*I use 1 tbsp hot, 2 tbsp mild)
- Salt & freshly cracked peppercorn
- 2 Hungarian sweet white pepper (*Can substitute with yellow bell pepper but you should avoid Red as it will be a bit sweet. Out of necessity, I used 2 red bell peppers and added 1 yellow hot wax pepper)
- 2 med. sized tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1-2 tbsp flour (*for thickening)
- Divide chicken into pieces. Leave the skin on as it will help keep the meat together and lock in flavours.
- Finely chop the onions.
- Heat oil in a deep pan. Gently cook the onions, stirring occasionally. When the onions are soft and translucent, remove pan from the heat source and sprinkle paprika over the onions. Mix well.
- Add the chicken to your pan and fry over high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid. *Note: This dish should cook in its own juices. Add a little water only to prevent burning.
- Remove seeds from peppers and slice into rings or chop. Reserve a few slices for garnish. Seed tomato and chop into small pieces. (The seeds and juice dilute the mixture and won’t add flavour).
- Add pepper and tomato to chicken. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked. The chicken is cooked when the meat easily separates from the bone.
- In a separate bowl, combine some of the sour cream with a bit flour. Stir until smooth. Add a bit of the cooking juices to the bowl and mix well. Repeat this step 2 or 3 times.
- Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan. Optional: At this point, you may remove the skin from the meat.
- Add sour cream to the reduced juices. Mix well.
- Return chicken to pan. Simmer gently for 4-5 minutes.
Onions, lard and paprika are the ‘Trilogy’ of Hungarian cuisine. To release the full flavour and aroma of paprika, it needs to be added to hot lard, butter or oil. However, because of it’s high sugar content, paprika can burn quickly! To prevent burning, remove your dish from the heat before adding the paprika powder to the hot oil while stirring continuously.