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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Harry, Sally, and Chicken Paprikash

 I, like everyone else, remember the delicatessen scene in When Harry Met Sally.  But do you remember the reference to chicken paprikash?

“Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash. But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.”

You would think with all the braising I do and my general love of all things gadempta, that chicken paprikash would have been on my hit parade long ago.  In fact, I can't believe that I've never made it.  But it's true.  There has been no chicken paprikash for me.  I'm not sure I've even eaten it before.  What was I waiting for?

As it turns out, it was well worth the wait because it's just my kind of food.  After simmering for just about 30 minutes, the chicken was meltingly tender.  The sauce, which is really just a couple of ingredients, including a lot of paprika, was smooth and rich.  Served over buttered egg noodles, this dish reeked of comfort food.  Those Eastern Europeans sure knew their comfort food.

I think chicken paprikash and buttered egg noodles may just become a winter staple around here.

Recipe:  Chicken Paprikash
(Gourmet, December, 2003)

Note:  I used chicken stock in place of the water.


3 pounds chicken pieces with skin and bones

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika (preferably sweet Hungarian)
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sour cream


Rinse chicken and pat dry, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken in 2 batches, skin sides down first, turning over once, about 12 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a shallow bowl. Add onion and garlic to pot and sauté, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Add paprika and stir in tomato sauce and water. Add chicken pieces, skin sides up, and simmer, covered, until chicken is very tender but not falling off the bone, about 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes more. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Transfer 1 cup sauce to a bowl and whisk in sour cream, then stir mixture into remaining sauce in pot and season with salt.

Recipe:  Buttered Egg Noodles
(Food Network Kitchens)


12 ounces wide egg noodles
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest, optional


Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt generously. Add the noodles and cook until they are tender but not mushy.

Meanwhile, ladle 1/4 cup of the noodle cooking water into a medium skillet. Set the skillet over low heat and, while whisking constantly, gradually add the butter, piece by piece, (let each piece of butter melt into the sauce before adding the next bit) until a smooth sauce has formed. Stir in the parsley and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the lemon zest, if desired.

Drain the noodles in a colander set in the sink and leave whatever water clings to them, do not rinse. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl, add the sauce, and toss well. Serve.

1 comment:

  1. This does look and sound like the perfect comfort food. I loved When Harry Met Sally but I don't remember that line from the movie. Now, the next time I watch it I'll be listening for it ;)