My mother-in-law is of Hungarian ancestry and grew up in Germany. I spent three years in Germany when I was a little girl and developed a great affinity for German food that has stayed with me my entire life. Since the majority of my husband’s family still lives in Germany, he has also spent a fair amount of time there, and German culture is something we both share. While my mother-in-law makes delicious German food, she also makes some great Hungarian food, which I hadn’t really ever been exposed to before dating my husband. One of my favorites is Chicken Paprikash. Although this is a Hungarian dish, I think it must be common to make in Germany as well because all the ladies in the local German shop make this, and they all do it a little differently. It is simple, flavorful, even spicy if you like. Making this dish always seems to happen right as the season is changing from summer to fall. As we’re starting to spend more time indoors, I become drawn to creating these simple, warm and comforting dishes. Sunday night we made chicken and dumplings and last night was chicken paprikash. This is the type of dish where you want to make a big pot of it, and eat it over a couple of days. It always seems to be better the second day.
I thought I would take the time to give you the recipe. The prep time is quick, and it’s so uncomplicated, you can even make it on a week night. The best part is serving this with spatzle. However, I recommend making it on a relaxing Sunday, giving it plenty of time to simmer in the pot before eating and storing the leftovers to eat during the week.
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 whole chicken – cut into parts
2 Tbs sweet paprika (Hungarian if you can find it)
1 tsp hot paprika (optional: this is also Hungarian and will add some spice to the dish
1 Quart chicken stock
2 Tbs tomato paste
Salt to taste
It helps to have a spatzle maker, but it’s not necessary. You can put the dough onto a plate and use a fork to break off tiny pieces into the water.
2 Cups of all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Cold water as needed for the dough
Heat a large pot and add the olive oil. Dice the onion and add it to the pot. When the onion becomes translucent, add the chicken to the pot. In a bowl, add the chicken stock, tomato paste and the paprika and stir until combined - it will be a beautiful rust color. Add the mixture to the pot and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cover with a lid and turn down the heat. Cook until the chicken is falling off the bones, approximately 1 hour.
About 15 minutes before the chicken is ready, you’ll want to get started on the spatzle.
Fill a pot with water, add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, pour the flour onto the counter in a pile or add to a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and make a trough in the flour.
Add the eggs.
When the dough is ready and the water is boiling, add about half of the dough to the spatzle maker and move back and forth, letting the dough drops hit the water. You’ll want to do this quickly because the spatzle will cook fast. Once you’re finished with the first half of the dough, wait for the spatzle to rise to the top and start scooping them out with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Once the chicken is ready, take the meat off the bones and return the meat to the pot. Serve some spatzle into a bowl and scoop some chicken paprikash over the top. Enjoy!
Admittedly, it's not the most gorgeous dish in the world, but it is a tasty, comforting dish on a cold, dark day.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can top it off with some blackberry crumble like we did.