Chicken Paprikash… Out-of-this-world Delicious! Paprika basks in the limelight here, in a rich, comforting Hungarian Chicken Stew, Paprikas Csirke, as it’s known belovedly in Hungary.
This silky, smooth stew is cold weather comfort food at its finest!! Chicken is braised in a paprika laced gravy and finished off with a dollop of sour cream.
This is a super easy dish that will wow you with both its flavor and simplicity.
Many of us are aware of Hungarian Goulash, with that unmistakable flavor profile from their famous sweet Hungarian paprika. Well, it’s about time to make their other family favorite world famous, this time putting chicken in the pot.
One bite into this and you realize that it’s comfort food, even if you’ve never had it before in your life. Chicken smothered in warm, smoky, rich, buttery, tangy sauce is the ultimate to dig into when your heart craves cozy on a chilly winter night. So, if you ask me…
What is Chicken Paprikash?
Sometimes referred to as Hungary’s national dish, it is locally known as Paprikas Csirke (pronounced as Paprikash Cheerke). It simply translates as “Paprika Chicken”.
It’s all in the name. Paprikash gets its name from the ample use of paprika. The chicken is slowly braised in the sauce created by onion, garlic, peppers and tomatoes, most often with a little help of chicken broth or simply water, and tooons of paprika.
It’s always rounded up in the end with sour cream to make it silky smooth textured deliciousness.
Paprika is the STAR here in this Eastern European classic. Yes, it is a classic, dating back several centuries. Paprika was imported into Hungary from Turkey and has been grown in southern Hungary for 500 years.
So it’s no surprise that paprika is quite iconic in Hungarian cuisine. In fact, it’s so popular that they spoon it into pretty much any dish you can think of.
Paprika comes in all colors from orange to bright red, and heat levels from spicy to sweet. Hungarian paprika ranges from hot to sweet. The Hungarian sweet paprika is so sweet, it can be even used in desserts (pun intended here).
A good quality, authentic Hungarian paprika is a MUST for authentic Chicken Paprikash. You can either find in specialty stores or order it online. Hungarian sweet paprika is almost smoky sweet, with fruity peppery notes. That’s why, if you are using their sweet variety, a ton of it goes into chicken paprikash.
No, it won’t make it spicy hot. It lends a very distinctive flavor, along with the creamy tang the recipe gets from sour cream in the end.
So here is what you need to make this Hungarian classic…
Ingredients for Chicken Paprikash
- Veggies – Onion and bell peppers (we used green and red).
- Aromatics and flavor enhancers – Garlic, chicken broth, tomato paste, sour cream, salt and pepper, butter (you can use lard, too, if handy).
What kind of chicken to use
Traditionally, whole chicken is used. Bone-in chicken is the most flavorful in any stew.
We are using bone-in, skin-on thighs for maximum flavors. Personally, we don’t like skin in the final dish, so we just kept it on while browning the chicken, to keep the meat moist and have the maximum flavors retained in the pot. We removed it prior to braising the chicken.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs would also work well here.
How to make Chicken Paprikash?
Exact measurements and steps are the recipe card below. We will quickly go through the steps here…
Give a quick sear to chicken thighs in butter and plate them out.
Discard excess fat and sauté diced onions till soft. Add in diced bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add in tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Hungarian sweet paprika and mix well. This is to ensure that the paprika does not burn and get bitter.
Return to low heat and cook for a minute. Add in chicken broth and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs (optional) and place the chicken back in the sauce and cook for 45 minutes.
Now is the time to add in sour cream. Don’t mix the sour cream directly to the hot dish. This might curdle the sour cream. To make that smooth and silky beautiful rosy colored chicken paprikash sauce, there is a little technique called tempering the sauce.
In a bowl of sour cream, you slowly add a ladleful of sauce to the sour cream and whisk. This slowly brings up the temperature of the sour cream. Lower the heat and slowly add all this sour cream mixture into the pot.
We added an extra 1 teaspoon of paprika at this point. Mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes on low to medium heat.
You will be amazed at the beautiful color and texture of this amazing chicken stew. One bite and you are going to get hooked for life, I promise…
What to serve Chicken Paprikash with
They love this winter comfort food with their small noodle-like Hungarian dumplings, called Nokedli. They are made with flour and eggs and can be easily made from scratch while your chicken paprikash pot is simmering.
Another great alternative is Spaetzle, which is the German counterpart for small dumpling-like noodles. You can sometimes find them in your grocery store.
Being a rice eater, I just salivated thinking of this butter chicken like dish with with a bowl full of rice.
This low carb dish would go exceptionally well with cauliflower rice or mash.
How to store Chicken Paprikash
Its finger licking delicious for the next few days, as it sits in the refrigerator, enhancing all the flavors. Simply store it in airtight container and reheat it in the microwave or on stove top with a splash of water, if needed.
Well, there you go… one more regional classic, all the way from Eastern Europe. Try it. All you need is good quality Hungarian sweet paprika to make this happen. In today’s world, everything is available at your finger tips and it’s a breeze to order it online and make these amazing new flavors in your kitchen.
Let us know if you try this Hungarian Chicken Paprikash and what you paired it with… we are all ears.
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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 6-7 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp + 1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika, divided
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat up butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken skin side down and sear undisturbed for 6-7 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Plate it out and discard the skin.
- Discard the excess fat from the skillet leaving about a couple of tablespoons. Add onions and sauté onions till they start turning brown.
- Add in bell peppers and sauté till soft. Add in garlic and cook for a minute.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in sweet Hungarian paprika and mix well.
- Return back to heat and add in chicken broth and cook for a couple of minutes. Add chicken back into the skillet and cook, covered, for 40-45 minutes, until chicken is fall of the bone tender.
- Place sour cream in a bowl and slowly mix in a spoonful of the hot paprikash sauce. Do it 4-5 times. This ensures the sour cream slowly comes to the temperature of the sauce and does not curdle, resulting in a smooth sauce. Mix this tempered sour cream into the skillet and mix well. I added an extra 1 tsp of sweet Hungarian paprika at this point too (optional). Taste and adjust the seasonings like salt and pepper.
- Simmer on low heat for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 400Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 195mgSodium 966mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 33g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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