Chicken, braised in paprika sauce until meltingly tender, then finished off with a generous dollop of sour cream, is a real winner. This recipe for Hungarian chicken paprikash is classic and timeless.
Take a look at another Hungarian favourite, which also uses paprika, Beef Goulash.
I believe our bodies naturally know what they need to warm up. And the reason I think that is because whenever November strikes, I start to dream of chicken and beef braises. The meals that bring us comfort and warm us up from the inside.
This recipe for chicken paprikash is one of those magic recipes. It doesn’t just taste delicious, it also makes us feel good afterwards. How? I have no clue. The spell of comfort food I suppose.
My family has been enjoying chicken paprikash for years. One of my attempts to simplify the classic recipe led to my Easy Chicken and Chickpea Paprikash, that has become a readers’ favourite. If you are after a quick and leaner version for this iconic dish, check it out.
However today is all about the classic version, the authentic paprikash or chicken paprikas as it is also known.
The classic recipe is quite simple actually, as most old style European cooking. It uses a whole chicken, cut up into smaller parts, which is is browned. And finally it is slowly cooked in Hungarian paprika sauce until very tender.
Many recipes use tomatoes but surprisingly the original recipe didn’t include them. Tomatoes are a late addition.
In the end, tangy sour cream is added for some creaminess. It also tames the strong paprika flavour.
The dish, that originates in Hungary, is also enjoyed all over Eastern Europe, and quite frankly most of the world, is often served with homemade dumplings.
I usually serve it with rice but egg noodles are a great substitute for dumplings.
Cooking chicken paprikash will take about 1 hour from start to finish.
However, only 15-20 minutes of that time is active. The rest is chicken happily bubbling away in the delicious paprika sauce.
How to get authentic flavour
The answer is simple. It’s paprika! If you want to make the best tasting chicken paprikash, you have to make sure your paprika is fresh and fragrant.
Contrary to many beliefs, dried spices do NOT last forever. In fact, they lose their fragrance quite quickly. The best test would be to smell your spices to determine whether they are still useable.
Generally dried spices last for 2-3 years but your nose will still be the best indicator!
What paprika to use
Hungarian sweet or hot paprika is traditionally used for this recipe. However, I prefer using Spanish sweet paprika that has a slightly smoky aroma and delicious flavour.
More Braised Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Cacciatore
- French Chicken Casserole a la Normande
- Italian Rosemary Chicken and White Beans
- Classic Coq au Vin
Have you made any of these and which one is your favourite?
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 lbs chicken thighs and legs
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp flour
- 400 ml/1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 400g/14oz tinned chopped tomatoes/crushed tomatoes in the US and Canada
- 250ml/1 cup sour cream
- In a large pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and brown seasoned with salt and pepper chicken parts over medium-high heat until golden but not cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate and set aside. Discard most of the chicken fat but 2 tbsp.
- To the same pan add chopped onion and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes without browning it, then add garlic and briefly cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Then add paprika and flour, stir to combine until you have a paste. Then slowly add the chicken stock while stirring to avoid lumps, then add the canned tomatoes, turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Once boiled return the chicken with its juices back to the pan, cover with a lid, lower the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent from burning.
- At the end of cooking time, stir in sour cream and take it off the heat. Serve sprinkled with some fresh parsley.