Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chicken Paprikash

I decided to refresh some of the spices in my spice cupboard and one of the spices that needed replacing was Paprika.  Of course, I ended up buying Hungarian Paprika as I like it best, which inspired me to make Chicken Paprikash.  This was one of my favorite stews to make when I was young although back then I added in the sour cream - which you are welcome to do - but I no longer do because of my lactose intolerance.  It's really a simple braised chicken dish made with lots of paprika and lots of onion. The large amount of onions is a big part of what makes this dish really delicious. I made it yesterday with a whole chicken so I took the meat off the bone to serve it, but most of the time I make it with chicken thighs that I brown and braise and serve whole.  It's a simple no-fuss preparation that you make and cook and serve later on top of egg noodles or a Hungarian style Spaetzle (little dumplings) or buttered rice or mashed potatoes. I also made a simple cucumber and onion salad to go with it and it was a lovely meal.  

Chicken Paprikash

8 Chicken Thighs (or 1 whole chicken cut up into pieces)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 large onions, sliced thinly
About 8 cups water (can also use Chicken Broth for a richer flavor)
3 Tablespoons Hungarian Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or 1/2 teaspoon Hot Hungarian Paprika
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch mixed with water to make a slurry
Optional:  1/2 cup Sour Cream

To serve: Buttered and boiled Egg Noodles

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the chicken pieces and brown on each side.  Take out the chicken and add in the onions.  Cook until transparent and just beginning to brown.  Put chicken pieces back in and add the water (or broth) to just reach the top of the chicken.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for one hour.  Then remove chicken from the pot to a large bowl.  If using whole chicken pieces, you may want to remove the meat from the bones.  Bring sauce back to a boil and add in the Cornstarch and cook until thickened. If desired, add in the Sour Cream.  Put chicken pieces back in and serve. This is also good made the day before and reheated gently.  Serve on top of boiled egg noodles that have been buttered.

Five Element Analysis

Chicken belongs to the Wood Element, so that element is fully represented.  The onions, from their long cooking becoming Earthy. The cucumbers  I served with it added even more of the Earth Element and the raw onions brought in some of the Metal Element. The Paprika and Cayenne contribute the Fire Element. The Soupy Nature of this stew adds some water, but the meal needs a bit more. The Metal Element is not very represented here, so if you use the Sour Cream, that brings it in or serve with another dish containing a Metal food and a Water Food - perhaps some berries with cream to create a balanced meal.  

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