Chicken Paprikash

From Cook's Country | October/November 2009

Why this recipe works:

Bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces gave our Chicken Paprikash the best flavor of all the possibilities we tested. If left on, the skin imparted an unwelcome greasiness to the sauce. We easily remedied this by discarding the skin after browning the chicken.

We discovered that not all vegetables… read more

Bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces gave our Chicken Paprikash the best flavor of all the possibilities we tested. If left on, the skin imparted an unwelcome greasiness to the sauce. We easily remedied this by discarding the skin after browning the chicken.

We discovered that not all vegetables were right for this dish. Some were slimy, others added too much bulk, and many detracted from the sweetness of the paprika. Caramelized onions and red bell peppers worked best. We really needed to pile on the paprika before it became noticeable in our Chicken Paprikash. But in large quantities it tasted harsh and gritty. A bit of tomato paste offset the bitterness of the paprika while allowing us to include enough of the spice to do justice to the dish’s namesake.

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Serves 4

Use any combination of white and dark meat. For even cooking, halve breasts crosswise and separate leg quarters into thighs and drumsticks. Reduced-fat sour cream can be used in this recipe. We like to serve this chicken over egg noodles or rice.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (see note)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup paprika (see information at left)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (see note)

Instructions

  1. 1. BROWN CHICKEN Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well browned all over, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin.

    2. COOK VEGETABLES Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, paprika, and flour and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in broth and bring to boil.

    3. SIMMER CHICKEN Add browned chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until white meat registers 160 degrees (or dark meat registers 175 degrees), 20 to 25 minutes. Off heat, stir in sour cream until incorporated and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Silken Sauce Secrets

1. Chicken skin turns flabby when braised, plus it makes the sauce greasy. Brown the skin to add flavor, then discard.

2. Paprika makes the sauce gritty. Two tablespoons of tomato paste lend sweetness and body—and mask the grit.

3. For a velvety sauce that won't curdle, stir in the sour cream after the pot is off the heat.

Paprika

There is no single paprika pepper. The powdered spice we call paprika comes from a variety of peppers that range in intensity and flavor from the sweetest bells to the hottest chiles to smoked peppers. Use sweet paprika in our Chicken Paprikash for the most authentic flavor.

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