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Chicken Paprikash: a Balkan Delight

And, a favourite of Vanja’s as he says: “It smells like home!”

Simple, easy, deeply rich in flavour, good old fashioned comfort in a bowl… perfect with mashed potatoes and a salad. But the chicken and the paprika make all the difference.

If you have never had a free range farm raised or an organic chicken, get thee to the market this week, and buy one. Christmas, or no Christmas. Treat yourself. (Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market is open regular hours on Thursday of this week, and not Christmas day!) There is NO comparison. Zero comparison between a mega-store chicken and a chicken you buy from a farmer at the market. I know they cost more. But what price is your health worth? And the flavour… ooooh, MAMA!

I buy the Sunworks legs and thighs for this dish. Three packages with two in each package. Not cheap. Worth every penny. This is not only for the “rich”. I am not rich. It is a lifestyle choice. Brown the chicken in oil. Slice the onions and the peppers and add the onions to the oil the chicken was cooked in. Sautéthe onions until translucent and all the bits from the chicken are picked up with them from the bottom of the pan. Then, add the peppers.

Sautéfor a couple of minutes, until just starting to soften, then add the garlic. Fry for about thirty seconds and add the paprika, seasonings, stock and chicken back to the pot.

In this case, I changed the pot. It was not going to be big enough. I added some homemade chicken stock. Some really, really good stock. I debated. Should I, or shouldn’t I? Because, adding water works, too. You don’t need too much, either. But, I wanted to go for the flavour bomb. In went the stock. Normally, 1/3 of this amount is perfect. I wanted it soupy today. I just felt like I wanted a lot of sauce.

This is the paprika I brought back from Belgrade with me in the brown paper bag from my favourite spice store in Vanja’s brother’s neighbourhood (scroll to the bottom of the link, if you go to it). You must use really, really good paprika.

Everything is melted and melded together.

Time to reduce the sauce.

And now, time to thicken it. I find this is a very easy way to do it. I make the flour-water mixture and pour it into the pot in a sieve immersed in the sauce. That way, I avoid getting any lumps!

After the sauce thickens and cooks to the desired amount, serve over your favourite starch. Today, I just served a piece in a bowl with a crust of invisible bread. It was there… but, it was not as pretty as the chicken.

This is very easy and so simple and so delicious. Try it! Or, if you have a recipe for Chicken Paprikash, tell me about yours!

Chicken Paprikash Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 legs and thighs
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 6 red peppers, sliced
  • 1 bulb of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper (1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 cup flour mixed with 3/4 cups water

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry chicken pieces
  2. Heat oil in skillet and brown chicken pieces; set aside
  3. Sautéonions in the same pan the chicken was browned in, scraping up all the tasty bits, until translucent (3-5 minutes)
  4. Add peppers to the same pan; sautéuntil just starting to soften (1-2 minutes)
  5. Add garlic; sautéfor 30 seconds; add stock or water immediately
  6. Move to a larger pan, if necessary
  7. Add chicken pieces back to the pot; season with salt, pepper and paprika
  8. Simmer for 1/2 hour with lid off
  9. Mix 1/4 cup flour with 3/4 cups water in a jar with a lid; shake well
  10. Pour over sauce in pan through a strainer to avoid lumps; stir well to combine
  11. Simmer until sauce thickens (about 5 minutes) stirring occasionally
  12. Serve immediately

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About Valerie Lugonja

Educator, Writer, Gardener and Traveler who believes in buying and eating locally, and most importantly cooking at home!

Join The Conversation!

  1. So you DO make easy dishes…teehee.. I’m finally starting to see that, as everything you make seems way over my head, but amazingly delicious. I think this is one I can handle :-D. This will be going on my must try list. Gary grew up in HK and is used to eating free range chicken and also thinks there’s no comparison. I grew up here and wasn’t introduced to free range until maybe 2 years ago! So I’m ok with either type of chicken, but Gary loves free range. How much would a whole free range chicken cost at the old Strathcona market?

    I love the simplicity of this dish and the ingredients go together so well to give it such lovely flavors. A delicious looking dish indeed. I’d love me some freshly baked homemade bread to go with this. I can see why it’s one of Vanja’s faves. So where would you recommend to get “good paprika” in Edmonton?

    PS
    Aaaack! We’re planning to visit my in- laws in Vancouver the last 2 weeks of January :( Have fun with your first cooking class (I know you will though, you always make everything fun)!

    • LeQuan… I did a close up of the chicken label so you could see the price I paid for the chicken per package, approximately. They don’t sell these per chicken unless you order ahead. They are always pre-cut. I usually pay around 26 dollars for a roasting chicken from the same place… about $4.50 a pound. Not cheap. But, the meat has much more substance, goes further, is more filling… the bones are much more flavourful for a lovely soup after the chicken is roasted, and on and on. Good paprika? I would suggest the Italian Centre Shop on the South Side. I would buy the Hungarian one in the tin. The sweet Spanish Paprika in the tin their is also fantastic, but has a smoky flavour. I love it and use it for many dishes, but not this one. The Hungarian one will be very good (but mine is better…. :) :) :) )
      Also… the apple pie class is in Feb… you would learn a lot from that one, and enjoy it… but, no worries. There will be others. And more times for us to get together.
      :)
      Valerie

  2. The old owners of one of the places I work were Hungarian and made something similar that they would bring for us to eat. Let me tell you the dad was always making delicious things in his kitchen Valerie.

  3. I’m becoming a huge believer in eating less meat quantity with higher quality. Good chicken is SO good. Bad chicken is SO bad. I had a couple Sunworks chickens this fall, and they were both excellent.

    I have a spreadsheet of this season’s meat cost by animal, and poultry comes in at the top with beef. Chicken being the most expensive protein per lb was counter intuitive as I don’t think we perceive it as the most valuable when we use it. The winner for domesticated meats: pork, by nearly half the price/lb of other meats.

  4. I’ve never had Chicken Paprikash and I think I am missing out of something very special! What a wonderful tutorial you’ve put together to make it – thank you :)

    I don’t think I can get that same chicken here but I do buy a brand called Gerber Amish Chicken which is cage and hormone free that is very good. Yes, well worth a couple of dollars more.

  5. Dear Val – This is so up my alley. The next time the chicken legs go on sale, I’m fixing this! I love all your food so I can’t wait :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. I love Austrian cooking and this recipe is one of the glories of their table. I’m so glad you decided to use the stock. I think it makes an enormous difference in the flavor of the finished “gravy.” I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  7. I can only imagine the smell of this dish. I’ve never had it before but I am sure that I would enjoy.

  8. No matter how fancy dishes can get with chicken in 5 star restaurants, I believe, nothing comes close to great home cooking like this dish.
    How can you go wrong when so much attention is placed on quality and made with love ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  9. Organic chicken is wonderful, and worth the extra cost!

  10. What an amazing looking dinner! I would gladly fill my plate :)

  11. Looks wonderful. I am like you and buy food things wherever I travel.

  12. My husband is Hungarian. His grandmother taught me to make his favorite paprikash recipe. This looks different from hers but VERY tasty! I’ll have to try it!

    • Sommer!
      I would love you to send me her recipe – or, at least, explain the differences. The biggest difference in mine from Vanja’s mother’s traditional recipe is the addition of the vegetables.
      :)
      Valerie

  13. Val,
    Who said being rich had anything to do with money? You are very rich!
    –andy

  14. With a dish as simple as this, it really is important to have good quality ingredients! i’m all for free-range cage-free organic chicken and some good quality paprika! This looks delicious.

  15. This looks so wonderfully fragrant! I agree that farm chicken can make all the difference in dishes like this one.

  16. You are so right! It’s all in the flavors and an organically farmed chicken (or whatever they are called) is sooo much better in the taste department that I would rather buy one farm chicken vs two supermarket chickens!

  17. Wow, does this ever look like a bowl of love! Your paprikash looks fantatic, and you make a really good point about good quality chicken. My hubby and I buy halal meat and before I started eating it, I had no idea that chicken could taste so good, lol!

  18. I love these paprikaish chicken! So homey, saucy and packed with flavours! I love it!

  19. I am getting ready to fry some paprika-infused cold cuts and I always think of you when I see the ajvar? anyway, that Eastern european pepper paste at the middle-eastern store; as soon as possible, I will get a jar, I am dying to try it. Love this chicken aprikash dish; I was surprised you did not add sour cream. Is it only the Hungarians that add the sour cream I wonder or did you skip it to save the calories>?

  20. the efforts definitely paid off with this fantastic meal. with all those ingredients, i’m sure it’s absolutely full of depth and flavor!

  21. This is a very gourmet comfort food, the chicken prepared this way sounds very delicious! I love the flavors of sweet paprika, excellent!

  22. Oh this does look fabulous and so comfy food – just the thing for cold winter nights. I’m imaging you all having your white Christmas in the Nth side of the globe whereas we are going nuts with seafood, summer & seasides this year. Fabulous huh.

  23. I love one-pot meals like this and especially really flavorful ones like this. I have wanted to make this for ages yet never have. Yours looks too good to keep putting it off anymore. Wonderful!

  24. Hi Valerie-I’m happy you visited my blog! I’m also happy the first post I find on yours is a Hungarian dish:)My mom is Hungarian. Your chicken paprikas looks delicious! I hope you have a wonderful week:) And yes, it does get cold here! I know, it’s shocking. Sometimes it is just the windchill that is so bad. Depending on how cold it is by you guys and what comes down to us:)

  25. Oh my goodness! What are you trying to do to me, Valerie (smile)?! This dish used to be my favorite chicken dish too back in my meat eating days. So good it is! Yours looks wonderful and superbly authentic. I would wager that Vanja was very pleased…:)

  26. A perfect winter dish, I only recently stumbled across a new organic chicken provider..I amm exited to research their site and try new dishes. I love paprika and how lucky vanja is to have a wonderful wife to make himn this meal. Thanks for the great tip on using a sieve to help keep out the lumps, I will surely out this to good use.
    sweetlife

  27. That looks amazing!Rich and comforting!

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