Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 72! Hungary - The Last of the "H" countries: Chicken Paprikash and Spaetzle - Up Next, Iceland

Way back in the day, I worked for a foster care agency. At the inexperienced and cocky age of 26, I had the dually awesome and terrifying responsibility of supervising kids placed in temporary foster homes. One of my favorite foster mothers was a Hungarian woman named Ava who welcomed me into her warm kitchen and showed me how to make Hungarian Chicken Paprikash and Spaetzle on one of my many visits. It's been a long time since I've seen Ava, but I have still have her recipe and I hope this does it justice!

Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Hungary's capital is Budapest.

Cuisine in this beautiful, ancient country is characterized by the traditions and customs of the Magyar, the primary ethnic group. Hungarians enjoy meats, seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, cheese and honey.

Hot paprika lends heat and spice to Hungarian food that most European countries do not share. Sweet paprika, garlic, black peppercorns and parsley are also commonly used to season soups, stews and many other dishes.
 Saute green peppers and onions
 Add chicken, lightly dusted with flour. The original recipes calls for bone in chicken pieces, but I didn't have any on hand, so I improvised with boneless chicken breast
 My love affair with sea salt continues...

 Ingredients for the spaetzle - flour, eggs, water, salt, melted butter

And I just really love this old bowl
 My in-house action-shot photographers were MIA, so it was virtually impossible to capture the technique used to form the spaetzle without dropping the knife on my foot or the camera in the pot - but you get the general idea...scrape about a spoonful of dough off the edge of the plate into boiling salted water. These are probably a little bigger than they should have been
The spaetzle are done when they rise to the surface of the boiling water, which they do very quickly and only the require a minute or two to cook through.

Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Adapted from Ava's original recipe)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 small peeled or canned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Hungarian paprika
  • 1 3 pound chicken, or about 2 lbs. boneless breasts or thighs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • flour for dusting chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Brown onions and add green peppers, pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. 
  2. Lightly dust chicken with flour.
  3. Add to onions and brown
  4. Add tomatoes and simmer till cooked. 
  5. Add sour cream, do not allow to boil as sour cream will curdle.
  6. Serve atop spaetzle and be sure to ladle plenty of sauce ontop!

Hungarian Spaetzle

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Dash of pepper

  1. Add flour, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water, eggs and melted butter.
  3. Mix ingredients together until lumps are gone and dough is elastic, but  not stiff.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  5. Spoon batter onto a flat plate.
  6. Using a knife or spoon, cut about a spoonful of batter at a time from the edge of the plate into the boiling water. The spaetzle will rise quickly to the surface, and only need a few minutes to cook once they've popped to the surface.
  7. Remove spaetzle to a colander, giving them a quick rinse and drain.

Final Assessments:  If my boys could eat this once a week, they would. I, on the other hand, would have an ass the size of Hungary, so this dish shall forever remain a delicious, special treat. A+


KK said... mother brought back the most amazing paprika from Hungary...may need to check this out !

Anonymous said...

delicious! :) just in time for autumn :)xx

sadie said...

Thank you! It's nice when your dish color-coordinates with the seasons :)

Chris said...

Came here from the Foodie Blogroll and I'm glad I did. What a creative approach to food blogging, I love your concept!

sadie said...

Thank you Chris! I'm thrilled to have aboard - I really appreciate your kind words!


Anonymous said...

I visited here at the recommendation of a mutual friend--Randi Straus Sargent--and I'm so glad I did, your blog is awesome. When my brother lived in NYC we used to go to this tiny ittle Hungarian restaurant on the upper east side, and I always had Chicken Paprikash. sadly it closed awhile ago, so I'm thinking your recipe might come in very handy. Wasn't your first introduction to real Hungarian paprika an eye opener--growing up I always thought it was a flavorless garnish to add color to deviled eggs or roast chicken. I look forward to the rest of your world tour!

sadie said...

So glad you stopped by. I love your reminiscence about paprikash! And, yes, Hungarian paprika is wonderful stuff! And btw, I love Randi! Welcome aboard :)