Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas Csirke) with Added HOT Spaetzle Action
I'd love to say that this is an old family recipe, since I come from sturdy Germano-Hungarian stock, but the Paprikash my mother used to make was never very good. When I was at university I told my friend/chef this and he took that as a challenge. What follows is his recipe, which is fucking fantastic. In a very short amount of time it has become my boyfriend's favorite meal EVER.
One important note on paprika - it is absolutely necessary that you use good, sweet Hungarian paprika for this. You use a lot of it and the quality of the paprika is essential to the end result - you cannot use any old McCormick's crap and expect this to taste anything other than pig shit. Go outside and discover your closest Eastern European grocer. There you will find the tastiest paprika known to mankind, and now you're ready to begin. Or you can go to Budapest like we did and just grab some there. Your choice.
Feel free to make these recipes side-by-side (they work great if you've got someone else to tagteam with) or make the paprikash and then start the spaetzle.
- 3.5-4.5 pounds chicken parts (you definitely want something on the bone. We usually grab a package of legs & thighs at the supermarket)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 3 cups very thinly sliced onions (pref white)
- 1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika (see note above)
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1-1.5 cup creme fraiche (use sour cream if creme fraiche not avail)
- salt & pepper
- (NB: some ingredients didn't show up for the parade)
- Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Season generously with salt & ground black pepper.
- In a wide heavy skillet (you'll need some high sides, so I've had to make a compromise with the pots available to me) heat the butter over a medium high heat. Add as many pieces of chicken to the skillets as will fit without crowding and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
- Also, grab yourself a Yuengling if you live in Pennsylvania or have nice grandparents to import some for you. You deserve it.
- Here they are after 5 minutes, golden delicious.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and if you've got any remaining chicken, brown those in the same manner.
- Rest, little chickens, we're not done with you yet!
- Add the onions to the remaining fat in the skillet.
- Reduce the heat slightly. Cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to color (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle the paprika and flour over the onions.
- Cook, stirring continuously, for one minute, until it looks like this:
- Add in th chicken stock, garlic and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Return the chicken with all accumulated juices to the pan.
- Reduce he heat so that the liquid barely bubbles. Cover the pan and cook, turning the chicken once or twice, until the dark meat pieces release clear juice when pricked with a fork (20-30 minutes).
- Remove the chicken to a plate and pick out the bay leaf and toss it away.
- Let the sauce settle, then skim the fat off the surface with a spoon. Boil the sauce over high heat until very thick and almost pasty. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the creme fraiche.
- Return the sauce to high heat and boil until thickened again. return the chicken to the pan and heat thoroughly.
- Serve over hot cooked noodles or spaetzle....
(they look like little sperm!)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- In a large bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, flour, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.
- Very gradually add the flour to the wet mixture, making sure the last bit is fully smooth before adding any more flour, until all the flour has been added. The dough shoud be smooth and thick (a bit thicker than American pancake batter - a LOT thicker than British pancake batter). Feel free to use a hand mixer to help it along.
- It should end up like this when you tilt the bowl:
- Let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in the largest (widest) pot you can find.
- To form the spaetzle, hold a large colander or slotted spoon over the water and push the dough through the holes with a wooden spoon. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Do this in batches so you don't crowd the pot (a slotted spoon is great for fishing the spaetzle out of the water).
- Dump the spaetzle in a colander and give it a quick rinse with cold water.
- Pile a portion of spaetzle on each plate and top with chicken and paprikash sauce.