What a scorching summer we’ve had here in B.C.; it’s absolutely ridiculous if you ask me. We usually have a few days in July and August that hit the 30 mark (30° Celsius, that is), but this is way beyond that. This summer, we seem to be getting four of five of those 30+ days every week. I honestly can’t step outside without immediately dripping sweat. I also can’t seem to do much around the house without dripping sweat. Essentially, if I stay perfectly still in front of an over-worked fan, letting dishes and dirty clothes pile up around me, I can maintain a reasonable temperature that won’t cause an unreasonable amount of perspiration. So, in short: too damn hot!
Sorry, that’s (probably) the last thing you want to think about when reading a food blog. I understand completely if you’ve already just jumped ahead to the recipe and pictures. In fact, why don’t I just help you out and get straight to it? When it’s unseasonably warm outside, people say it’s “too hot to cook”. That doesn’t stop me. It does feel “too hot to blog” though, somehow, so let’s bare-bones it for once and cut the intro nice and short.
This recipe is adapted from Amber’s version over at Loves Food, Loves to Eat. I played with the measurements a bit and added some cayenne for extra spice, but my big adaptation was that I used a whole bird (minus the wings). It was my first time making Paprikash, so I had no idea what to expect. With my wife growing up in both Croatia and the Czech Republic, she has very fond memories of the dish, and had requested that I make it sometime. Though my final result didn’t immediately transport her back to her childhood years spent in Zagreb or Prague, she did like it. I think she was a bit disappointed it wasn’t an identical match to the version(s) she’d eaten as a kid, but it’d be the same as if she’d attempted to replicate my mom’s borscht*, without even knowing whether it should be tomato-based or beet-based. I know I’ll have to consult with her soon about making a version more in-tune to what she grew up with (and serve it over noodles, as per her request), but this dish is no slouch in it’s own right. In fact, I’m planning on making it again this week, as I didn’t quite get my fill of it the first time around. Seriously, it’s such a good, hearty meal.
Yeah, I guess me and short intros just don’t go well. Anyways, what you’ve been waiting for…Whole Chicken Paprikash:
Whole Chicken Paprikash (with Dumplings)
- whole frying chicken
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
- 2 tsp. cayenne powder (2 tsp.)
- 3 cups + 1 tbsp. water, divided
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
For the dumplings:
- 2 eggs (preferably free range)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. oil
- 1/2 cup water, plus extra for boiling
- Butcher the chicken, removing both breasts (boneless) and both legs. Remove the skin from these four pieces, but leave them otherwise whole. Reserve the rest of the bird for making broth, if you wish.
- In a Dutch oven (or equally-sized pot, if you must), sauté the onions in the vegetable oil until near-translucent.
- Stir in the paprika and cayenne and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, continuing to stir frequently.
- Add the chicken (all four skinless pieces) and stir all the contents of the Dutch oven together well, ensuring the chicken is coated well in the spices. Cook for about 3 minutes, allowing the chicken to sear/brown slightly.
- Add the 3 cups of water, and stir well. Bring everything to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Let everything simmer for 55-60 minutes, stirring every so often and checking to maintain the simmer. Half-way through this process, flip the chicken pieces over to help ensure an even cook.
- If you’re making dumplings, do so in the last 25-30 minutes that the Paprikash is simmering away (if you’re not, I’d suggest serving your Paprikash over egg noodles or mashed potatoes). Mix all the dumpling ingredients together in a stand mixer’s bowl. Mix with a dough hook until well-combined (the dough will be quite sticky). Bring a pot of water to a boil, and then drop 5-6 spoonfuls of raw dough into the water at a time. In about 90 seconds (when they start to float), remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside in a collander. Repeat until all the dough has been used up.
- Once the Paprikash has been simmering for 55 minutes to an hour, remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred. Tossing aside the bones, return to shredded chicken to the Dutch oven.
- In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, flour, and tbsp. of water until well-combined, then add this to the Dutch oven and stir until combined. Add in the dumplings and season carefully with salt and pepper.
- If you included the dumplings, simply portion out your Paprikash into a bowl and enjoy. If not, portion out your Paprikash over a bed of egg noodles or mashed potatoes (and enjoy).
As you’ll see in some of the pictures, I enjoyed this meal alongside a crisp and delicious Kozel, a Czech beer that I picked up in honour of the dish’s roots in Eastern Europe. It’s one of three or four Czech beers my wife and I enjoy on occasion, though those represent only a fraction of the beers we drink. Coincidentally, my wife sent me a text message from her friend’s place moments after I finished my Kozel; it was a picture of the Kozel that she had just polished off. Weird, right?
*Let it be known that I love my mother and think she is one of the best home cooks and most generous hostess I’ve ever known. Her food is consistently amazing and arguably better than anything any other mother has ever made in the history of the world. That being said, I’ve never warmed to her borscht. When I finally get around to honouring my Mennonite heritage by making borscht, it won’t be her recipe that I’ll be using. Whatever version that’s served in my childhood church’s basement – that’s the one I’ll be going with. Sorry, mom.
******* (Updated 08/12/2015) ********
I made the Paprikash again, but I opted to leave out the dumplings and serve it over mashed potatoes instead. Honestly, it was even better over the potatoes. I think that the next time I make it, I’ll actually go over the top and do both – dumplings and potatoes! We’ll see. Anyways, here are a few extra pictures: