I would love to say, that the Hungarian paprikás csirke is a childhood favourite, however I have only learnt to appreciate this dish in my early twenties. Meanwhile it is definitely one of my most favourite comfort foods and it tastes best when it is prepared by my mom. No matter how many times I have cooked it myself, even with my mother on the phone, it is just not the same. You could say, it is beacuse the ingredients are different in Switzerland, well sure, that do makes a difference, but I have also cooked it using only Hungarian ones and still. It is always very yummy, but just not the real thing! Probably, paprikás csirke is one of the most popular Hungarian speciality among gulyás and pörkölt. All of these were created by the herders who lived in the Great Hungarian Plain, the Alföld. Usually, a pörkölt is cooked with lamb or beef, however chicken was also popular, especially in the normal households. The first written recipe of the paprikás csirke is by Czifray István, who was a famous cook in the 19th century and wrote one of the most basic and important books. Already in his book pörkölt, gulyás and paprikás are considered as 3 different dishes. Paprikás csirke was first mentioned on a menu of a restaurant in 1825 from Szeged. This mouthwatering poultry dish contains everything that is a popular in the Hungarian cuisine: paprika powder, onion, green paprika, tomato and sour cream. Usually, it is served with nokedli and it goes perfectly with kovászos uborka, that is fermented cucumber flavoured with garlic and dill.
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika powder
1 bay leaf
600 ml sour cream or créme fraiche
2 tablespoons flour
for the nokedli:
600 g flour
1 tablespoon oil
Heat oil and sear chicken, then set it aside. Add chopped onion and sautée until soft, then put back the chicken parts, add paprika powder, chopped vegetables and just enough chicken stock or water so that the ingredients are covered. Cook over low heat with bay leaf and allspice, until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken, puree the vegetables and if you like smear it thorugh a strainer. Mix together flour and sour cream and stir it to the sauce. Put back the chicken parts and cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. For the nokedli mix together flour with eggs, oil, salt and so much water so that you get a a rather soft batter, but not runny. Boil water with salt and press batter through a ricer or a colander and cook until they swim on the top. Drain and if not served immediately, sprinkle with some oil.