14 August 2007


While I'm off, I've been able to do more things in the kitchen than I ever have; making dinner nearly every night instead of heading to a restaurant. I love to cook. I love to bake. I hate to clean the kitchen. Today's Tuesday Brain Dump is all about last night's dinner.

Yesterday I indulged in both the baking and the cooking, along with my strong desire to experiment and tamper with recipes that I've been wanting to try for years.

Chicken Paprikas is something that I last had in Budapest, Hungary about 15 years ago. I loved it, and have wondered for years if I would be able to duplicate it. The recipes I've seen over the years aren't difficult or particularly time-consuming, so I'm not sure why I've never tried to make it before.

My go-to guides for things I'm not sure about in the kitchen are the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook and The Joy of Cooking. I'm enough of a geek to actually read cookbooks, just like you might read a novel. Joy lends itself well to that. BHG not so much. But I read both recipes, along with another recipe on the back of the Kaluski noodles that I picked up to go along with the dish. The commonality to all of them is the chicken, the paprika and onion.

DH hates onion, or claims to, anyway. His favorite thing to eat is the lasagne that I make from scratch, and the very first thing that goes in the pot? Onion. I mostly disregard his opinion in this matter, therefore.

In order to disguise the onion, however, I need to be creative. All of the recipes called for thinly sliced sweet onion. Instead, I chopped it fine and then dumped it in the food processor until it was nearly paste. One of the huge Emperor's New Cloves garlic cloves that I got at Trader Joe's was added to the paste. I love those garlic cloves, but they're tough to chop, so after a rough chop into the food processor it went.

I have some hot Hungarian paprika in my pantry. The recipes for the Paprikas all call for between a tablespoon and a quarter cup of paprika. After having made and tasted the finished product, however, I strongly advise that you don't use all hot paprika, rather a mix of hot and sweet would be the way to go. My version was far too spicy, and I love hot food. I had to add a can of tinned tomatoes and a can of tomato paste to cool it down enough to eat. An addition that I'll continue to use, I liked it.

Chicken Paprikas
1 Emperor's New garlic clove OR 3 cloves regular garlic, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 to 2-1/2 pounds chicken pieces, skinned. Bones are OK. I used two breasts, a bit of a thigh, and a drumstick with the thigh still attached.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon hot paprika
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 cup fat free sour cream
3 cups hot cooked noodles

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet and add chicken pieces, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet and add onion, garlic, and paprika and cook until onion is translucent. If you grind them up as I did, about 10 minutes at a medium temperature is fine. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and return to the skillet, turning to coat with onion/paprika/garlic mixture. Add chicken stock and wine, bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce heat and cover, allowing to cook until chicken is throughly cooked, about a half hour.

Remove chicken, chopping and removing the bones. Return chicken to skillet, add sour cream and stir well. Mix in noodles and serve immediately with crusty bread. Yummy. And not even bad for you.

I also made a pound cake yesterday, rich and wonderful, with a whipped chocolate ganache filling. Very yummy. But I need to avoid spending my days baking, especially baking with chocolate, because then? I want to eat it. Not a bad thing until I can't make myself stop.

I'm off to the gym to work that off.

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