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Chicken Paprikash II (M, TNT)
Source: "Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family," by Judy Bart Kancigor
Serves: 4

1 chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lb.), cut into 8 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
2-1/2 tsp. kosher (coarse) salt
Black pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Dried oregano to taste
Sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 large green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 lb. white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup non-dairy sour cream (optional)
Hot cooked egg noodles, for serving

Season the chicken on both sides with 1-1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Then lightly sprinkle pepper, garlic powder, and oregano over the chicken. Finally, season with the paprika–-very liberally if using sweet; a light sprinkling if using hot. Set the chicken aside.

Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more, and then transfer the onions and garlic to a plate.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil to the pot. When the oil is quite hot but not smoking, add the chicken pieces and brown them on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken from the pot. Stir the tomatoes with all their juices, tomato paste, the reserved onion/garlic mixture, and the red pepper flakes into the pot. Return the chicken to the pot, making sure to cover all the pieces with the sauce. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the bell peppers and mushrooms and continue to simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.

Just before serving, remove the chicken from the pot and keep it warm. Add the "sour cream," if using, to the sauce and heat it over medium-low heat, being careful not to let it boil.

Serve hot, spooning the sauce over the chicken and noodles.

Poster's Notes:
The essential ingredient in paprikash, as any Hungarian cook will tell you, is the paprika. Some like it sweet, some like it hot, but the important thing is that there really is a difference between good-quality Hungarian paprika and that red stuff our mothers sprinkled over chicken for color.

While sour cream was an essential part of this dish for their non-Jewish neighbors, kosher cooks in Hungary, of course, omitted it.

I realize this recipe isn't considered "authentic," but my book was intended to be a family memoir and not as a reference work.

Carolyn Gilboa writes:
Among the ingredients here are two I have not seen used in this dish. Mushrooms are used in lots of Hungarian cooking, but not in this. It's a unique variation.

Oregano is not used at all in Hungarian cooking so far as I know. What is usually used is parsley and/or marjoram, but also, not usually in this dish. Oregano in tomato sauce is characteristic of Italian cooking, and most Hungarians have an intense dislike of marinara, bolognese, and other red Italian sauces because of their seasoning. With mushrooms and oregano, this is more like chicken cacciatore than like paprikash csirke.

Paprikas dishes all have sour cream added to the sauce. The Jewish version, which omits it, is therefore not called paprikas csirke but csirke porkolt or poerkolt. Because to our ears that suggests pork, most English speakers call it "paprikash" instead.

When recipes move across oceans, they change, and when cultures intermix, there are more changes, and the results are the wonderful food of port cities like NY and San Francisco and New Orleans. This recipe is a very good example of that.

Posted by Judy Bart Kancigor

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A