A “paprikás” is a goulash in a thick, creamy sauce. A creamy mushroom goulash is called a “gombapaprikás”, one with catfish is a “harcsapaprikás” and a creamy potato goulash is a “paprikás krumpli”. The most famous of them all is this one, the “paprikás csirke”, creamy chicken goulash.
It is a real classic, this lovely chicken paprikás. In all neigbouring countries as popular as in Hungary itself. Not surprisingly, because it not only is a very tasty dish, it is also a simple, easy-to-make recipe which will cost hardly any work; it is cheap; it is low-fat and very healthy. And the smell! That lovely, full, prickly paprika-smell that fills the kitchen. That smell alone makes your mouth water.
The one and only, old-fashioned grandma-style recipe for paprikás csirke is made with a whole chicken, cut in 8. We don’t do that. We are going to make our lives a little bit easier by using chicken haunches, just like they do in the restaurants.
to serve 4 we need:
4 chicken haunches
1 generous tbsp. sweet paprika
2 dl. sour cream (and some more for serving)
The recipe for this Hungarian creamy chicken goulash or paprikás csirke is as easy as falling from a log. Heat a few tbsp. of oil in a pan. Sauté the chicken haunches quickly on all sides until golden brown. They don’t have to be done on the inside; just browning is enough. Take the chicken out and put aside.
Reduce the heat, chop the onions and sauté them very gently in the remaining fat until translucent. Take your time: if you are done in less than 20 minutes you are going too fast. Take care not to brown them. When the onions are done, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the paprika. Quench it immediately with water. Bring it to a boil and put the chicken haunches in. There should be enough water to cover them more or less. Cover half with a lid and let it gently, gently simmer until the chicken is tender and the meat practically falls from the bones. That might take up to 1 – 1½ hrs.
Now stir in the cream. Let it simmer on for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
That’s the whole recipe for a real Hungarian paprikás csirke.
Serve the chicken in the sauce with galuska, lots of the delicious sauce and a generous spoonful of sour cream.
Paprikás csirke with chicken breast
The big advantage of chicken is that the meat contains no fat. The big disadvantage of chicken is that the skin is practically nothing but fat. If you want a “diet” version of this wonderful paprikás csirke or if you just don’t like the fat skin, you can use chicken breast. Your paprikás will lose a tiny little bit in rich taste, but has the advantage that it is ready in less than half the time.
The ingredients for this paprikás csirke are the same as in the original recipe, except that the chicken haunches are replaced with chicken breasts. The recipe itself is a little different. Start with the onions. Chop them and sauté them gently in a little oil until translucent. Cut the chicken breasts in halves and put the kettle on, because when the onions are done we will need some boiling water.
When the onions are translucent, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika. Add the chicken breasts, stir well and pour immediately boiling water, just enough to cover everything more or less. Put the pan back on the stove and let the chicken, with the lid half on it, genlty simmer until they’re done. That would be half an hour at the most.
When the chicken is done, stir in the sour cream and let it cook for a few minutes more. Ready.
Serve with galuska, pasta or rice, lots of sauce and a nice blob of sour cream on top.