How to Make Chicken Paprikash
Romanian Heritage in a Bowl
Classic Home Recipes
Growing up my father would make Romanian/Hungarian food as a specialty. His grandparents came to America from Romania and growing up he only knew their cooking. Every Easter we would make Hungarian sausage, paprikash, byushkas (not to be confused with babushkas), rice, and fried chicken. I never knew ham was a typical Easter dinner until I was in high school! Aside from our Romanian chicken soup, this recipe is my absolute favorite dish from my family's past. It's an absolute classic that is perfect for cold nights! It's also amazing comfort food that is sure to impress!
To start, I'll list what you need but keep in mind that my father always taught me to taste as you go and change accordingly. What works for me may not be the best option for you. Feel free to alter how you see fit so you can enjoy this forever in your own way! For my particular take you will need:
Ingredients for Paprikash
- 3 cups Flour
- 6-12 Eggs
- 1 Onion, Diced
- 5 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed and minced
- 2 lbs Shredded Chicken, White or Dark
- 2-4 Cartons Chicken Stock
- 8 oz Sour Cream
- 4 teaspoons Paprika, Szeged Hungarian is best. Link Below
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper, Freshly Ground
- 1 Half Stick Butter
- A few splashes of BAM!!!
How to Make a Dumpling Flour Well
How to Make Dumplings
Dumplings are the cornerstone of this dish. Very often people make their dumplings too tight or bland, but no longer! Start by putting three cups of flour in a bowl and add one teaspoon of garlic powder, two teaspoons of paprika, and a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and make a well in the flour for the eggs. Start by adding six eggs to the well and begin to fold the edges of the flour into the well. Continually fold until the mix becomes slightly tan and sticky. If the mixture stays white and powdery continue to add eggs slowly one by one until it reaches the right consistency. Once the dumpling mix is complete set it aside in the refrigerator until ready.
Your Dumpling Mix Should Look Like This When Complete
Start Your Base
To begin the base of your paprikash you need to take a tablespoon of olive oil and fry your chicken of choice until it is well seared and browned. You don't need to cook the chicken all the way through, just until it's well browned. Do this in the pot you'll be cooking the paprikash in. Remove the chicken and set it aside. The pot should have a good amount of fond, or cooked brown bits, stuck to the bottom of the pan. This is going to incorporate great flavor into the vegetables and broth.
What to do With Fond
How to Skim Fat From Soups
Deglazing Fond From Pans
Many times people think that fond is burnt fat, and so they wash it out. Unfortunately for those people, they're washing intense flavor down the drain. Fond can easily be removed for a clean pan and make dishes taste amazing. Take your garlic and onion and throw it in the pot with the fond, using a wooden or plastic spoon or spatula to scrape the base of the pan as you cook down the vegetables. They should begin to take on a brownish color soon after. When the onions are translucent you can return your chicken to the pot, add two cartons of chicken stock, and two teaspoons of paprika. Bring this to a boil!
Return the Shredded Chicken to the Pot and Boil
Butter is Delicious
Cooking the Chicken and Adding the Dumplings
Boil your pot until your chicken is cooked and tender. Depending on the type of chicken you used this time will vary; I used legs and it took about twenty minutes. When the chicken is cooked remove it and shred it in a bowl. When you remove your chicken add your half stick of butter. This will give a shiny look to the broth while adding great, complimentary, buttery flavor. It also will help to give the broth the creamy consistency commonly associated with paprikash. Lower the heat and simmer the broth while you shred. Be sure to remove any skin from the chicken and discard, same with the bones and any other chewy bits that may be there. Return the chicken to the pot with any drippings left over and return the pot to a boil. Taste for seasoning and adjust the broth accordingly. Skim as much of the fat from the top of the boil as you can and prepare to add your dumplings.
How to Cook Dumplings
Remove your chilled dumpling mix from the fridge and prepare to add them to your soup! These dumplings are incredibly sticky and are prone to sticking to your spoon and cooking on it, instead of falling into the pot. This is incredibly difficult to clean off of your spoon later, and it doesn't allow for delicious dumplings to form in your paprikash! But luckily there's a way to avoid this travesty with little effort. Use a metal spoon with a long enough handle that you won't burn yourself each time you place a dumpling. Hold the spoon in the boiling broth for about fifteen seconds and get it nice and hot. If you scoop your dumpling mix with the hot spoon and then dunk them into the broth you should be able to gently shake the dumpling off cleanly. If it doesn't come off right away, return it to the broth for a few more seconds and then give it a firm shake. Attempt to keep your dumplings at a similar size to ensure even cooking in them all, and keep in mind that whatever size you spoon into the broth will easily double by the time it finishes cooking! They will also absorb a good quantity of broth, so if more is needed you should do so now and adjust for seasoning!
How to Know When Dumplings are Done
Daisy Sour Cream
Once the dumplings have cooked fully they will float to the top of the pot and be about double their original size. Take the eight ounces of sour cream and add it to the broth. This is going to give us our final creamy consistency and will cut through the strong paprika flavor so it isn't too concentrated. Give everything a good stir and taste for seasoning! You may need a bit more paprika, salt, pepper, or broth if the dumplings absorbed too much! If it isn't quite right, don't worry! You can always add more and fix things up! Finishing off this dish is as simple as pulling out your favorite hot sauce, mine being Franks, and throwing in a few splashes for a bit of kick and cayenne flavor! Growing up my dad would use "BAM" in all of our Romanian dishes, and the tradition carries on today! Stir well and simmer the paprikash for twenty minutes. Use this time to clean up any dishes you've made and by the time you're finished you'll have the most delicious chicken and dumpling paprikash you've ever tasted! Garnish with a bit of parsley for looks and enjoy!
The Final Beautiful Product
Thanks to my Dad!
This blog and recipe can all be attributed to my father! He's been cooking me great food and reminding me of my heritage my entire life! Without him, I wouldn't have this newfound passion, and I wouldn't be able to share these great dishes with you! So thank you, Dad, for raising me with good food, good morals, and a proudness for where we come from!
How was it?!
Questions, Comments, or Criticisms?
Let me know in the comments below what you think this would pair well with, or any praise or criticism of the dish! I look forward to reading and responding to any questions as well! Also, please be sure to keep an eye out for any new recipes I post or pair with this dish! And as always, keep eating good!
© 2017 Jesse Unk
Jesse Unk (author) from Ohio on March 27, 2018:
Let me know what you think dan!
Dan Reed on March 27, 2018:
My grandmother always made paprikash. I used to love it. Ever since, I've only had it out at restaurants that never seem to get it right. At least not the way I remember grandma's. Perhaps this will be the one. I'll get back to you on that.