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The Flavor of Hungary: Chicken Paprikash – With Recipe!

Adrienn Vass 2020.10.24.

“Paprikás csirke,” or chicken paprikash (in French- poulet au paprika à la hongroise, in German- paprikahuhn, in the case of the Austrians- paprikaahendl), has been our Hungarian national dish for two centuries. Not to be confused with chicken stew, another Hungarian classic, this is the version with sour cream. And to be honest, if Hungary would have a taste, most Hungarians would say it would taste like chicken paprikash.

Chicken paprikash is definitely the most popular Hungarian dish, and even an honorary hungarikum, because it has everything that characterizes Hungarian cuisine: the spicy hungarian paprika, pepper, onion, garlic, green pepper, tomato, sour cream, and of course, meat.  It is an integral part of the trinity of the goulash-fish soup-chicken paprika- if it can be found on the table, it is already a holiday. Many say that it is simply not possible to glorify this dish enough, as chicken paprikash is truly the essence of Hungarian cuisine.

In terms of its origin, the ancestor of chicken paprikash is the chicken stew, spread by the herders of the Great Plain, which over time was prepared with sour cream and which raised the food to a new dimension. Since foreigners arriving in Hungary almost always choose chicken paprika after goulash soup, the dish is constantly stuck in the offer of traditional Hungarian restaurants, and the more creative chefs are always happy to renew the recipe. In many places, it is served with sour cream, nokedli (noodles) with eggs, which is probably to both the dish’s and the guests’ advantage.

Chicken paprikash
– ingredients –

  • 1 kilogram of chicken (lower and upper thighs)
  • 2 heads of onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 Hungarian wax-pepper
  • 2 tablespoons goose or duck fat
  • 3 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • one and a half liters of water
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, salt and pepper the chicken thighs. Then peel the tomato, and dice it and cut the wax pepper as well. Heat the fat in a pan, fry the meat in it, then take it out and set it aside. Then cut the onions into small pieces, the garlic into thin slices and simmer them until it turns translucent. Pour 2 deciliters of water over it, wait for it to evaporate, then add 2 more deciliters, then simmer until it becomes creamy. Sprinkle the paprika on it, then put the roasted chicken thighs in it. Pour in another 2 deciliters of water and simmer on low heat until the stew turns slightly red.

Then add the leftover water and cook the meat under a lid until it turns soft. Finally, make a roux (thickening agent) from sour cream and flour, pour a little water from the paprika chicken over it, then stir the roux into the dish. Boil the mixture, then remove it from the heat. Serve the chicken paprikash with sour cream and a side of noodles (nokedli).

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translated by Fanni Kaszás

photos and featured photo: Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today