Chicken Paprikash with Spaetzle

Chicken Paprikash with Homemade Spaetzle

I wanted a lovely meal for a dinner with friends. It had to be special. When it occurred to me to make Chicken Paprikash, I knew I had made the right choice. Chicken, in a sour cream-paprika laden sauce, served over spaetzle. Ultimate comfort food.

I love paprikash, but had not made it in a long time. To save time, I used boneless thighs. Traditionally, bone-in chicken is used. Chicken legs would be my usual choice. The thighs did save a lot of time and they were tender and juicy.

Paprika is made from peppers that are dehydrated, then ground into a powder. There are dozens of types of paprika and it can get confusing. Sweet paprika just means that sweet peppers were used. Hot paprika means hot peppers are the base. The type of paprika is a personal choice. Hungarian is always a classic and will not disappoint. Just know whether you want a sweet or a hot paprika. You probably don’t want a hot paprika for a dish like this. It will make it too spicy. Lots of people like Spanish paprika. I fly in the face of tradition sometimes, by using a California paprika. I have also made my own paprika. If you like the flavor, then you are using the right one for you. To keep it’s flavor, store paprika in the fridge. Paprika can get rancid if stored too long at higher temps.

So here is the recipe. I will admit I didn’t measure the paprika before dredging the chicken in it. Don’t be timid. Use enough to coat the meat. I think the amount I listed in the recipe is pretty close to what I used. I also added some smoked paprika for extra flavor. Not a required ingredient, but I think it was a really good addition. The spaetzle recipe follows as well. Enjoy!

Chicken Paprikash

3-4 T. oil

2 onions, peeled and sliced

1 sweet pepper, seeded and chopped

6-8 boneless chicken thighs* (about 2 lbs., depending on the size)

6 T. paprika

1-2 t. smoked  paprika

Salt and pepper

¼ c. flour

2 c. chicken stock- or a bit more

1- 1½ c. sour cream

2 T. flour, optional

Heat oil in skillet. Cook onions until golden and add peppers. Continue cooking until peppers are tender. A little golden color on the veggies will add more flavor. Remove veggies from the pan and set aside.  Meanwhile, combine paprika with seasonings and ¼ cup flour and place in a shallow pan. Dredge the chicken in the paprika mixture. Add chicken pieces to the skillet and cook on high heat. Brown both sides of the chicken. You might have to do this in batches, depending on how much chicken you have. Once the chicken pieces get golden on both sides, turn down the heat and cook until chicken is done, or very close to done. Remove chicken, spoon out any excess fat, and add the stock to the skillet. Heat the stock until simmering. Place sour cream in a bowl and add some of the warm stock to it. If you think the sauce is too runny, add the extra flour to the sour cream mixture. Stir until sour cream mixture is smooth. Turn heat down in skillet to low. Place the sour cream mixture in the skillet and stir until sauce is smooth. Return the chicken and veggies to the sauce and cook, over low heat, until chicken is cooked and heated through. Adjust seasonings. Serve over spaetzle or egg noodles. Serves 4-6.

* Paprikash is traditionally made with bone-in chicken. If you use bone-in chicken, cooking time is longer. I brown chicken legs in the pan, then place them in a 350 degree oven to finish cooking, before returning to the sauce in the skillet.      



3 eggs

1/2 c. half and half or evaporated milk

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 c. flour

Combine all ingredients and let rest 30 minutes. Drop by small spoonfuls into boiling water. Cook until they float and puff up, about 5 minutes. I use a spaetzle maker, which produces smaller pieces. I only cook them a couple of minutes. Drain and serve with soups, stews, sauces or buttered. For the paprikash, I browned the spaetzle, after cooking, in a butter- oil mixture. I also tossed in some fresh parsley at the end.


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