The essential ingredient in paprikash, as any Hungarian cook will tell you, is the paprika. Some like it sweet, some like it hot, but the important thing is that there really is a difference between good-quality Hungarian paprika and that red stuff our mothers sprinkled over chicken for color. While sour cream was an essential part of this dish for their non-Jewish neighbors, kosher cooks in Hungary, of course, omitted it.
Recipes in Judy Bart Kancigor’s book Cooking Jewish were compiled from over 300 family members and friends. This recipe is by Carole Orlow.
This dish was featured as part of our Hanukkah Recipes photo gallery.
- Yields: 4 servings
- 1 chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
- Kosher (coarse) salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
- Dried oregano to taste
- Sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 large green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup nondairy sour cream (optional)
- Hot cooked egg noodles, for serving
- Season the chicken on both sides lightly with salt. Then lightly sprinkle pepper, garlic powder, and oregano over the chicken. Finally, season with the paprika—very liberally if using sweet, a light sprinkling if using hot. Set the chicken aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook, stirring, for 1 minute more, and then transfer the onions and garlic to a plate.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot. When the oil is quite hot but not smoking, add the chicken pieces and brown them on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken from the pot. Stir the tomatoes with all their juices, tomato paste, the reserved onion/garlic mixture, and the red pepper flakes into the pot. Return the chicken to the pot, making sure to cover all the pieces with the sauce. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and continue to simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Just before serving, remove the chicken from the pot and keep it warm. Add the sour cream, if using, to the sauce and heat it over medium-low heat, being careful not to let it boil. Serve hot, spooning the sauce over the chicken and noodles.