The original paprikas was fed to peasants who worked all day in the fields and burned every calorie. Most of us don’t do that anymore and benefit from something lighter, with a faster cooking time. With that in mind, I’ve developed an updated version of my family’s favorite traditional dish, one that has been passed from one generation to the next since chicken was invented.
Please note: You will see recipes on the internet from credible chefs that use bell peppers in chicken paprikas. Do not do this. It is wrong. Just….don’t. And for God’s sake, if you do, never speak of it to me.
Hungarians traditionally serve this dish with nokedli (no-ked-lee), a dumpling/pasta thing that is very similar to spaetzle. My mother made this from scratch, but I don’t have time for it. Instead I use dried spaetzle bought in the grocery store or potato gnocchi. You can also serve it with egg noodles. Cook your noodles, gnocchi or spaetzle while the chicken is in the oven.
- 2 lbs (1kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Trim visible fat, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Vegetable oil (avocado or grape seed oil are good; olive oil has too much flavor).
- 1 large onion, chopped.
- ½ cup Mama Lil’s spicy Hungarian peppers packed in oil, drained and rinsed.
- 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika (don’t used smoked paprika here).
- 1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika.
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.
- ½ cup white wine.
- 1 – 14 ounce (400g) can of diced tomatoes, drained.
- ⅓ cup sour cream.
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
- 1 clove of garlic.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ (180℃).
- Heat oil in a dutch oven until shimmering.
- Brown the chicken thighs, about 3-4 minutes per side. Do not crowd the pan, you may need to do this in batches depending on the diameter of your pot. Don’t fret if brown bits stick to the bottom of the pot. Set thighs aside on a plate.
- Sauté the onions until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add oregano and both types of paprika to the pot, stir to release the flavor, sizzle for 30 seconds.
- Add wine and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and Mama Lil’s to the pot.
- Keep stirring until the bottom of the pot is clean.
- Return chicken to pot and coat with the sauce, nestling it into the sauce.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place the chicken thighs onto a clean plate.
- Put the sour cream into a small bowl. Spoon some of the hot braising liquid into the bowl with sour cream and stir to combine. This is called tempering the sour cream, it will prevent the cold sour cream from clumping and separating when added to the pot of hot liquid.
- Stir the sour cream mixture into the pot until you have a consistent color. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Stir cooked nokedli, spaetzle or gnocchi into the pot. Top with chicken pieces, sprinkle with parsley.