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Not-Auth(entic) Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash - Recipe from www.thehairypotato.com

Disclaimer: this recipe is not in any way authentic and bound to make people angry. Let’s start by saying I probably don’t deserve to use the title Paprikash because I know that the real version has a special place in some people’s authentic, Hungarian, hearts and I mean no disrespect to them when I completely butcher their memories of how this meal should be made.

A little background on me, I suck at cooking. So, if I post a recipe of something that worked for me, chances are, it will work for anyone else in the world because I can easily mess up the simplest of recipes. Flash back to a horror show of a Thanksgiving I put together for all of my friends who didn’t have local family Thanksgiving plans, where the mashed potatoes turned into soup somehow, then I added Hungry Jack flakes to try and remedy the situation but also completely over-salted them as well. So if you can imagine, the result was a liquidy, lumpy but not really potato lumpy – like paper chunks lumpy, salty, white substance. My friends were polite enough to add it to their plates but not much of it was gone by the end of the night.

Fast forward to now, I have gained a tad bit of cooking wisdom over the years, but moreover than anything, learned my limitations. I don’t experiment with (too many) things I know I will fail at.

After following a fail-proof (like in the Princess Bride – “YOU KEEP USING THAT WORD, I DO NOT THINK IT MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS”) recipe for authentic Paprikash, I failed. I guess you could say it was “ehhh”. I don’t know exactly what the real thing should taste like, but probably not bland and tasteless. At any rate, I decided to try it again, this time, I improvised. If I was going to fail again I wasn’t going to blame the recipe. And you know what, I think it came out pretty good. AND, I think it’s low-cal. I’m not going to do something practical like actually try to figure out HOW low-cal it is, but the only real ingredients that add calories are the sour cream and the noodles, which I would recommend switching out for rice next time. If you do use rice, you could use the quinoa rice that is “supposedly” healthy. We get a big ol’ box from Costco of this stuff. I say rice next time around because the end result was a little too liquidy for noodles and pooled up some on the plate.

Important: Use fresh Paprika. So many people say this is critical. Mine was probably a few months old at best, but they say the fresher the better and keep it in the fridge (we don’t). I’m giving you best practice advice here that I did not personally follow. But I would be willing to bet it would have been even better if we had used fresh spices. How much better, hard to say. But on the Paprikash comments I’ve read for other recipes this is a MUST, according to the purists.

I used the chicken that you get in the store that is already soaking in marinade, but you can also opt to use your own seasoning or just salt and pepper the chicken before cooking, whichever you like. I find that when I cook chicken without any seasoning it comes out too bland for my taste.

Not-Authentic Chicken Paprikash

My spin on Chicken Paprikash. Almost guaranteed success from someone who is a terrible cook.

I reviewed several recipes from various online sources to understand the main ingredients: Paprika, obviously, chicken, obviously, sour cream, onions, etc. The items that take this into “illegitimate” status are the V8 and chicken broth. Also, there was garlic in my marinade, although you can choose one that doesn’t have garlic in it. This is where my Italian background disputes the original recipe, in my best Audrey Hepburn impersonation voice “Garlic is always a good idea”, at least in my book/blog.

Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook time:1 hour
Total time:1 hour 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
– Package of chicken approximately 1lb or so (marinated if possible in garlic/red pepper mixture)
– 2 cups water
– 2 tbsp olive Oil
– 1 diced/obliterated oinion
– 1 diced/obliterated red bell pepper
– 1 small can of V8
– 1-2 cubes chicken bullion cube
– 1 tbsp sweet paprika
– 1 tbsp smoked paprika
– 3/4 cup sour cream
– 1 pkg rice or egg noodles (your choice on kind/brand) – enough for 3-4 cups or so
– Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a heavy pot, pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil and brown the chicken on Med-High heat, about 5 minutes on each side. When cooked, take out and set on a plate.
  2. With the remaining brown stuff and oil in the pan, lower the heat to med/low and add the obliterated oinion and bell pepper to the pan and scrape up the brown skin off the bottom. Simmer until cooked, about 5 minutes. Note: I like to completely blend the oinion and bell pepper to a juice because I don’t really want the chunks in the sauce at the end, but you may opt to leave these diced if you like texture.
  3. Important: Remove the mixture from the heat BEFORE you add both paprikas (you may also just add one type if you wish). Make sure you remove the pot from the heat or you can burn the paprika which will give the whole dish a bitter flavor. With a wooden spoon stir the paprikas into the mixture rapidly.
  4. In a separate container, heat the 2 cups of water and dissolve the bullion cubes in the water. Add about half to the oinion/pepper mixture.
  5. Add the V8, stir.
  6. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
  7. Cut up the chicken into small pieces and add back into the pot.
  8. Add the rest of the water, as needed. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring as needed.
  9. Before serving, add in sour cream and mix thoroughly. The heat should be on off or on low otherwise the sour cream could separate.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Serve over noodles or rice with a good, crusty bread.
Chicken Paprikash on Noodles

Easy to make, tasty, & somewhat healthy. Were you brave enough to try this? If so, how did yours turn out?

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