My husband Charles and I love cooking together. The only thing that beats it is when he cooks for me (he’s an amazing cook) – and this Chicken Paprikash recipe straight from his Hungarian family recipe file has to be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted!
There’s nothing quite like a nice meal paired with a great wine, am I right? Date-night-in (with kids these days, of course) is a thing for us and always has been. The music gets cranked up (here is my Fraîche Cooking Playlist), the candles get lit and the wine is poured as we start cooking together.
Wine Pairing for Chicken Paprikash
We had the chance to partner with Sandhill Wines for the release of their 2019 Sovereign Opal, and it is outstanding! It is our new white wine crush, hands down. Bright, crisp and minerally, it has hints of grapefruit, apple and white peach and is super refreshing; I know you’ll be hooked too! To help give you some kitchen inspiration we wanted to pair it with the perfect dish, and Charles’ Chicken Paprikash was definitely the right choice.
Chicken Paprikash is a traditional Hungarian dish that Charles has perfected over the years. He is known for it, and when we are entertaining, it is the most requested meal by a landslide. Chicken thighs are braised in a mild tomato-based sauce that is simmered and blended with a touch of sour cream to soften the dish. And quite possibly the best part? His homemade noodles called ‘nokedli’, which are basically a Hungarian version of the German ‘spaetzli’ noodles (recipe below). I think it translates to ‘perfection’. Honestly, so good.
Cooking in Hungary
We had the chance to meet his family on our honeymoon in Hungary, which was nothing short of incredible. Almost nobody spoke English in the Hungarian countryside (Debrecen), and life was simple and completely self-sufficient. His aunt cooked many meals over a fire in this neat cooking vessel I’ve never seen, and everything they ate was grown in their back yard, from the chickens to the tomatoes, peppers and parsley. Everything is so fresh; they live modestly and are so happy.
This particular dish was cooked in a large pot over a fire by his uncle when we had it in Hungary: of course we had to get Charles one of those pots when we came back to Canada (he cooked all of our friends and family a massive pot of Chicken Paprikash one time camping – which reminds us, we need to do that again when we are able to). Of course, there’s no need for open fire cooking here! We like cooking it in a Staub cocotte but you can cook it in any medium-large pan or pot with a heavy bottom and high sides (and a lid).
This meal takes about 1 hour to cook and is best served in a shallow dish. If you don’t have the noodle (nokedli) maker (they are under $20) you can serve it with another noodle or rice. I hope you love Charles’ Chicken Paprikash (with a chilled glass of 2019 Sandhill Sovereign Opal– highly recommend) as much as I do! If you’re looking for other wine-paired recipes check out this Avocado Shrimp Citrus Salad or these incredible Salmon Cakes with Dill Tartar Sauce!
This traditional Chicken Paprikash is straight from a family recipe file and is really impressive despite being so easy to make! Serves 4-6
- 6-8 chicken thighs bone in and skin on
- 2 tablespoons oil (divided)
- 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- ½ cup sour cream
- salt to taste
- flat leaf parsley (to garnish)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups water
MAKE THE CHICKEN PAPRIKASH
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and season with salt.
- Heat a large pan with high sides or pot with a heavy bottom (with a lid) over medium, add 1 tablespoon of oil and place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same pan over medium-low heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and add the onions. Cook until soft and golden brown, stirring, for 6-8 minutes (this brings out the sweetness in the onions, it’s important to not burn the onions). Add the garlic, and paprika and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, green peppers, chicken and season with salt, reduce to low heat, put the lid on and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add cold water to the pan to the height of the chicken (just to cover; the amount will depend on your pan or pot), place the lid on the pot or the pan and let it simmer for 30 minutes. While the chicken simmers make the noodles (below).
- Remove the chicken from the pot or pan (keep simmering the sauce) and transfer to a plate or bowl and cover to retain the heat. Make a roux.
MAKE THE ROUX
- In a small frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook, stirring, until slightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the roux to the simmering sauce and stir well.
- Remove the pot or pan from heat, add the sour cream and, using an immersion blender (or regular blender, but make sure you take the vent cover off – this is important), blend until smooth. You can skip this blending step but it makes the sauce so much better!
- Remove the skin and bones from the chicken (discard the bones and skin, and be careful, it will still be hot) and add the chicken meat back in to the pot (you can break up the chicken at this point before adding it back in if you wish, discarding the bones). Season to taste with salt.
- Serve over the noodles; garnish with a sprig of parsley.
MAKE THE NOKEDLI (NOODLES)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- In a medium bowl whisk together all of the ingredients.
- Once the water is boiling, place the noodle maker on top of the pot with the square sliding section facing upwards. Add a small amount (about ¼-1/3 cup) of the dough to the centre sliding section of the noodle maker and slide it back and forth, allowing a small amount of the dough to push through (and get cut off as it slides back and forth), creating noodles. Continue with the remainder of the dough, working quickly. Boil for 3-4 minutes, until the noodles float. Drain and serve immediately (you may want to toss them in a bit of oil to prevent them from sticking together) with the Chicken Paprikash.