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After a thoroughly busy week at work, I decided that I should try a new drink recipe tonight. Fortunately, with a little digging, I found a fairly simple recipe for white sangria that seemed promising. I had the citrus, basil (thanks, mom’s herb garden!), white wine, and orange juice on hand, and all I needed to procure was a bit of brandy. Even luckier for me, it turns out that my mom unknowingly had a dusty bottle of brandy hidden away in the very back corner of her liquor cabinet. Tonight’s end of the week treat was practically free! Well… sort of…

SANGRIAWhat really drew me to this recipe was the white wine base (I’m slowly warming up to reds), the citrus and herbal notes, and the lack of chunky, floating fruit pieces. Sliced fruit may give sangria some lovely flavor, but I’m not a fan of spending a bunch of money and time on fruit just to soak it in perfectly good wine. Also, trying to drink my booze through fruit salad isn’t really my jam.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy adult drink for a day by the pool or an afternoon on the beach, this recipe is perfection. Just be sure to have everything chilled and plenty of ice on hand to stave off the heat!

Here’s the link to the recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/thai-basil-sangria

Earlier this week I had a kind of revelation. A little over a year ago, I happened upon a “healthier” pumpkin pancake recipe online that I figured I would be crazy about. The only catch was that it used chickpea flour instead of regular AP flour in order to boost the protein content. Chickpeas are one of my favorite foods (I’ll eat them straight out of the can any time), and I wait all year until it’s autumn and I can start savoring pumpkin-y goodness in all forms; therefore I figured this would be a new favorite.

Of course, I did a major no-no and made these pancakes for the very first time for a guest. My best friend had moved states away months before, but was back in town visiting briefly, and I promised her a fantastic pumpkin pancake feast before her flight home. To my horror, what I ended up serving her can only be described as “bean pancakes.” They were awful, but she never even hinted at the fact that they tasted as if I had literally mixed garbanzo beans and pumpkin, plopped them on the griddle, and served them to her with maple syrup. (This is one of the reasons why she is an incredible friend!) We laughed about it eventually, but I have had this sorry bag of leftover chick pea flour lingering in my pantry for over a year now. Until…

FullSizeRender-2The other night I had a serious craving for pizza, but no tomato sauce, yeast for dough, or mozzarella on hand. Rather than ordering out, I decided to try my hand at making a yeast-less pizza dough. After I found a decent-looking recipe, I figured I’d attempt to hide a bit of my useless chick pea flour in the dough by substituting it for about 1/3 of the AP flour that was called for. It was absolutely delicious!

Instead of the usual tomato-based pizza formula, I used some leftover pesto for sauce, and for toppings, I added some sliced garlic cloves, plenty of red pepper flakes, a couple of chopped kalamata olives, feta crumbles, and some grated Romano cheese. For an entirely experimental snack, this flatbread turned out surprisingly well. I can’t wait to try it again when I have real sauces and toppings available!

Do you have any cooking experiments that ended up being complete duds? What about unexpected hits?

That’s all for The Dish this week. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Savory Breakfast Strata

If you’ve never heard of strata, you’ve seriously been missing out. It is one of the most simple, delicious, versatile, and affordable options for breakfast, brunch, or a potluck. Strata is basically a fancy name for a savory bread pudding so named for its alternating layers (strata) of bread, custard, cheese, and various other toppings. The following recipe is one of my favorites, but strata can basically be made with any coordinating combinations of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and herbs that you prefer.

I assembled this one in a flash after dinner on Monday and put it into the fridge to soak overnight. Tuesday morning I woke up a little earlier than usual to take it out, let it warm up on the counter, and then bake it in the oven before heading off to work. My coworkers loved it, and my boss even washed my casserole dish and wrote me a thank you note! I think I may have to make another one very soon since it was such a hit. (Unfortunately/fortunately, the dish disappeared so quickly that I didn’t have time to take hardly any pictures!)

Now here’s your weekly dose of food history:

One of the earliest known strata recipes supposedly comes from a 1902 cookbook by Juniata L. Shepperd entitled Handbook of Household Science.1 Oddly enough, this cheese strata recipe does not include eggs, which are characteristic of most (if not all) contemporary versions. Nonetheless, I’m bound to fall in love with anything featuring copious amounts of cheese, so I suppose I can find it in my heart to forgive Ms. Shepperd for her omission.

As I mentioned above, strata is basically a variation on bread pudding, which has an interesting history. Like many popular dishes nowadays, bread pudding had humble origins. European lower classes in the 11th and 12th centuries repurposed stale bread into “poor man’s pudding” or bread pudding to make the most of their meager resources.2 Even in today’s recipes for bread pudding and strata, using stale bread is crucial so that it adequately soaks up the custard that is poured over it. Custard has a more complicated background, but many food historians are of the opinion that the custard we are familiar with today originated in the Middles Ages, typically as a filling for pies, tarts, and other pastries.3

Regardless of whether you’re making any version of sweet or savory strata or pudding, remember to let your imagination (and sometimes your pantry) guide you when it comes to choosing toppings. Anything goes!

IMG_4470Sausage, Fontina, and Bell Pepper Strata

(adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2009)

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup finely grated Romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 1-pound loaf rustic French bread, cut into ½-inch slices and allowed to sit out briefly
  • 2 ½ cups coarsely grated Fontina cheese (or even more, if you prefer things extra cheesy)

Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9-inch baking dish. Whisk the first 7 ingredients* together in a large bowl, and season well with freshly ground pepper.

The assembled dish, prior to setting and baking.

The assembled dish, prior to setting and baking.

In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the sausage and bell peppers, making sure to break up the meat well. Once the sausage is cooked through and the peppers are brown in spots, remove from the heat.

In the prepared baking dish, arrange half of the bread slices in the bottom, and then pour half of the egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle with one cup of the Fontina, then add half of the sausage/pepper mixture. Repeat this layering process once more. Use the final ½ cup of grated Fontina to sprinkle over the very top.

Allow the ingredients to stand in the dish for at least 20 minutes, occasionally pushing on the bread to encourage it to submerge. (I recommend covering it with plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge overnight with a few small plates on top to aid the bread in soaking up the custard.)

When you are ready to bake the strata, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown, approximately 1 hour. If you let the strata set in the fridge, you may want to remove it to the counter prior to baking in order to take the chill off the dish and reduce the baking time. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover the dish with a GREASED sheet or two of aluminum foil so that the cheese doesn’t burn or stick to the covering.

* I have noticed that when I buy bigger loaves of bread, the designated amount of custard in this recipe (first 7 ingredients) may not be enough. If your strata seems dry after soaking briefly, just whisk together another couple of eggs and a few splashes of milk and cream and pour it over the top. It won’t hurt anything, and it’ll ensure that your strata will turn out moist and not so bready.

Sources
  1. Shepperd, J. L. (1902). Hanbook of Houshold Science. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=HTRDAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA241#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. McFadden, J. (2008, January 23). Bread pudding originated in 11th century as frugal dish, but has become trendy dessert. The Daily Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/jan/23/0123_pudding/?print
  3. Olver, L. (1999) The Food Timeline. Retrieved from http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodpuddings.html#bread

Osso Buco

This slow-braised meal is a new favorite of mine.

When I decided to feature osso buco on the blog this week, I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. Tender medallions of veal slowly braised on the bone in a sauce of white wine, homemade stocks, aromatics, and fresh herbs—I’m about to abandon this post and run to the kitchen for seconds. However, if you are as eager to try your hand at this dish as I was, there are a few things I must mention first:

  • Veal shanks aren’t cheap.

Unfortunately, I knew that this specific cut of meat wasn’t going to be particularly affordable, but I was hell-bent on using veal. (Until I actually started speaking with butchers at grocery stores around town, which brings me to number two…)

  • Give yourself plenty of advance notice to hunt down or order some shanks.

I can’t speak for all grocery stores, but after visiting and phoning a number of markets around town, it became clear to me that most of them don’t stock shanks of any kind on a regular basis. Don’t get stuck planning osso buco as the highlight of a dinner party without already securing your shanks first, or you (and your guests) will be very disappointed. (Take it from me: It isn’t cute to start desperately begging butchers for “any kind of shank you’ve got in the walk-in.”)

  • There are alternatives to veal.

Just plain can’t locate some veal? Feeling guilty about consuming delicious baby cows? Want to avoid taking out a loan to buy such a glorious cut of meat? I totally understand. Fortunately, there are other options! Beef, lamb, and pork shanks can all be used, but remember that the flavor of your end result will be different from the traditional veal, and these cuts will vary in size as well, possibly warranting a bit more cooking time.

“I WILL FIND YOU, VEAL SHANKS.”

Those are the main lessons I learned in my first experience with veal shanks. Hopefully these tips save you the hassle of running from store to store interrogating butchers about shanks like you’re Liam Neeson searching for his daughter in Taken.

Now that you’ve been briefed on my veal woes, we can get to some of the more interesting history behind osso buco:

In Italian, osso bucco means “bone with a hole” and refers to the decadent, marrow-filled shin bone that is a defining characteristic of this dish.1 I had never tried roasted marrow until I cooked this recipe, and I must admit that I have been missing out. I have heard chef and Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern refer to bone marrow as “meat butter” before, but I didn’t fully understand his description until now. The idea of eating marrow weirded me out a bit at first, but it is important to try new things and waste as little of the animals we eat as possible. I highly recommend you try it!

Osso buco is usually associated with Milanese cuisine. Traditionally, it is served with risotto alla Milanese, a golden rice dish seasoned with saffron.1 I chose to pair my braised shanks with a simple, buttery Parmesan polenta, which paired beautifully with the rich sauce.

Mmm browned goodness.

Mmm browned goodness.

The recipe begins with two important components of making a flavorful braise, stew, or pan sauce: a fond and mirepoix. First, the veal shanks are seasoned, floured, and browned in a single layer on all sides in order to caramelize the meat a bit and develop a flavorful fond, or the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. This will naturally deglaze when the wine and stock are added to the pan and will infuse your sauce with incredible flavor.2 After removing the browned shanks from the pan, we introduce an Italian soffritto or mirepoix, consisting of chopped onions, celery, and carrots sautéed in butter or oil. (Italian soffritto is not to be confused with the Spanish/Latin version of sofrito I used in the pork pernil post!) This very simple mixture is the base for countless dishes.

Mirepoix

Mirepoix

The principle cooking method in osso buco is braising, which has an interesting history behind it. The word braise comes from the French term for “glowing embers.” Meat and vegetables used to be cooked with a small amount of liquid in a large, heavy pot over hot coals.3 However, like on a stove, even cooking is more difficult to achieve when the heat source is only coming into contact with the ingredients on one side–the bottom. Therefore, coals were also placed in an indentation on the lid of these large vessels in order to create more even heat distribution.3 Today, we replicate this method by using braising pans or Dutch ovens that begin the cooking process atop the stove and then finish in the oven. A well-executed braise is rather simple and traps all the flavors and moisture in the ingredients, which is especially useful for transforming tough cuts of meat into fall-off-the-bone tender morsels.

Hungry yet? Let’s move on to the recipe!

Osso Buco

(adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust)

  • 3 ribs celery, medium-diced
  • 3 carrots, medium-diced
  • 1 leek, cleaned well and medium-diced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, medium-diced
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, medium-diced
  • Approximately 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest (about one lemon)
  • 2 cups good chicken stock
  • 2 cups good beef stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 large veal shanks tied with twine (or substitute beef, pork, or lamb shanks)
  • 1 cup flour
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs for bouquet garni (I used about 5 sprigs fresh thyme, two sprigs fresh sage, two sprigs fresh rosemary, 4 sprigs fresh parsley, secured with twine)

    Bouquet garni

    Bouquet garni

  • Kitchen twine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the shanks and dry well with paper towels. If not already tied, use one or two pieces of twine (depending on the size of the shanks) around the circumference of each shank in order to keep the meat attached to the bone as they cook.

Combine flour with 1 Tbsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of pepper. Coat each shank in flour, making sure to knock off any excess. In a Dutch oven, render the fat from the pancetta until it is browned and just crisp. Remove the pancetta pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp. of butter to the pancetta fat, and once heated, brown the veal shanks in one layer on all sides. Additional oil or butter may need to be added. (Be sure not to crowd the pan, or the meat will steam instead of brown.) Once browned all over, remove the shanks to a plate.

Wipe the excess oil from the pot with paper towels. Melt 2 more Tbsp. of butter, then add the celery, carrots, leek, onion, and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for 1 more minute.

Osso buco just before going into the oven.

Osso buco just before going into the oven.

Add the wine and chicken and beef stock, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the browned bits at the bottom. Introduce the shanks pack to the pan, add the bouquet garni, reserved pancetta, and salt and pepper to taste.

Allow the liquid to warm through, but not quite simmer, then cover the pan tightly and place in the oven for approximately 2 hours, or until the shanks are very tender.

Taste for seasoning, carefully remove the twine, and serve the shanks hot with the sauce atop polenta, mashed potatoes, or risotto.

(And don’t forget to dig into the marrow!)

Hello, beautiful.

Hello, beautiful.

Sources
  1. Cloake, F. (2014, March 6). How to cook the perfect osso buco. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/mar/06/how-to-cook-perfect-osso-buco
  2. Allen, C. (2008, April 22). Fond of Fond. Cooking for Engineers. Retrieved from http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/244/Fond-of-Fond
  3. Brenner, L., & Deane, D. (2015). Braise of glory. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-braising-s-story.html#page=1

Pork Pernil

Things are really coming together at my new place. Best of all, I finally have Internet! However, I spent most of my time with my mom at her place over the weekend. We had a blast cooking together for this week’s post, watching old movies, and enjoying a few mimosas during the process. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your mothers this weekend as well!

Now, I can’t speak for everyone out there, but pork is one of those culinary delicacies that I can never get enough of. Roasts, chops, sausages, tenderloins, bacon, prosciutto: you name it. Pork products are my tasty, tasty kryptonite. So, it seemed only proper to feature a glorious roasted pork recipe in one of my first posts.

Lilly and Dixie got to enjoy some of the pork bones after all our hard work was over!

Lilly and Dixie got to enjoy some of the pork bones after all our hard work was over!

Although this slow-cooked dish takes a number of hours to marinate and roast, the recipe is fairly simple. Personally, I love things that I can prep ahead of time and then just pop in the oven. I adapted this pernil recipe from Cook’s Country, and it turned out fabulous. This would also be ideal for a summer get-together since it is affordable and easily feeds a crowd. Although the crowd that enjoyed this roast consisted only of my mother, myself, and our two spoiled Maltese pups.

Here is a bit of background on Pork Pernil:

Pernil is traditionally cooked using a fresh ham from the rear of the pig. However, this recipe (and most out there, it seems) calls for a pork picnic shoulder. The meat is marinated for at least 12 hours, cooked low and slow initially, and then at a higher temperature to crisp the skin. The bones, connective tissue, skin, and fat in this cut will all contribute to intensifying the decadent pork flavor of the meat and pan drippings. Essentially, using smaller and easier-to-find cuts of the hog helps you to replicate a full-blown outdoor pig roast in your oven.

I love the bright color of the sofrito marinade!

I love the bright color of the sofrito marinade!

Particularly popular as a Christmas dish in Puerto Rico, pork pernil is seasoned with traditional spice blends such as adobo and/or sofrito and served with rice and pigeon peas. Like any dish, preferred seasonings can vary widely from country to country, region to region, and family to family. Adobo is the Spanish term for a marinade or dressing that is comprised of herbs and spices—usually with a base of garlic, oregano, and black pepper.1 Sofrito is another popular staple in Spanish, Latin American, and Portuguese cooking. The ingredients in this flavorful base are typically lard or oil, onions, various kinds of peppers, cilantro, and sometimes tomatoes.2 Combining these two seasonings for marinating and braising the pork really IMG_4026imparts a lot of rich flavor.

I’m already getting hungry for leftovers again, so let’s get to the recipe!

Pork Pernil

(adapted from Cook’s Country at https://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/7453-pork-pernil)

  • 2 cups chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 heaping tablespoons fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, chopped with ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped with ribs and seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 bone-in pork picnic shoulder with skin on
  • 1½ tablespoons lime zest
  • 2/3 cup of lime juice

To make your sofrito mixture, combine 1½ cups of cilantro, the onion, salt, olive oil, garlic, oregano, pepper, cumin, thyme, parsley, and cubanelle and jalapeno peppers in a food processor. Blend well until the sofrito is finely ground. Dry the pork shoulder with paper towels and then spread the sofrito over the entire roast. Marinate in the fridge overnight, or for at least 12 hours for best results.

This is just after removing the foil.

This is just after removing the foil.

Shortly before you are ready to begin cooking, remove the pork from the refrigerator just to take the chill off. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and pour 8 cups of water into a large roasting pan. Place the roast skin side down in the pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 90 minutes. I suggest placing the roast in the lower third of the oven to prevent it from being too close to the heating element–especially in later steps when crisping the skin.

Remove the foil and decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Roast for 2½ hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and prepare your V-rack with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully remove the roast from the pan in one piece (the skin may try to stick to the bottom) and transfer it to the V-rack with the skin side up. Pat the skin dry with paper towels to allow it to begin crisping. Place the V-rack inside the roasting pan with the juices and return to the oven for 1 hour. If the juices in the pan begin to run low, add water as needed.

Look at that crispy skin!

Look at that crispy skin!

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the pork and the V-rack to the baking sheet. Return the pork to the oven and increase the temperature to 450 degrees. Roast for 15-30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. When it is done, the skin should turn dark brown and make a hollow, crispy noise when tapped with a utensil.

Remove to a carving board and let the pork rest for 30-45 minutes. While the roast is resting, take the juices from the roasting pan and pour them into a fat separator. Let the juices settle for a few minutes and then pour the defatted liquid into a large bowl.

I could drink these juices with a straw.

I could drink these juices with a straw.

Add the remaining ½ cup of cilantro (leaves look prettiest added to the sauce) and the lime zest and juice.

Carefully remove the crispy skin from the pork in one piece, and scrape away any large globs of fat from the bottom of the skin. Chop the cracklin into bite-size pieces and set aside on a plate. (Do not let them steam in a bowl or they will get soggy!) Remove the meat from the bone, taking care to discard any excess fat. Chop roughly and add to just enough of the cilantro-lime pan juices to moisten and flavor the meat (about 1 cup). Toss and serve with the crunchy skin on the side. Garnish with wedges of lime.

The finished roast along with the cilantro-lime juices. (We over-cooked the skin just slightly)

The finished roast along with the cilantro-lime juices. (We over-cooked the skin just slightly)

  1. Collado, K. (2014, December 30). What is Adobo. The Daily Meal. Retrieved from http://www.thedailymeal.com/cook/what-adobo
  2. Rodriguez, H. (2015). Sofrito. Retrieved from http://latinfood.about.com/od/seasoningmarinade/p/What-Is-Sofrito.htm

Chicken Paprikás

Take a trip to Hungary via your spice cabinet. Paprika is sure to warm your soul.

Florida’s rainy summer weather is starting already, and I have to say, I’m quite fond of the thunderstorms that roll in each afternoon like clockwork. (So long as I have nowhere to be and can cozy up in my apartment with a good book or movie!) The only thing that’s been missing from my rainy day festivities is some soul-warming comfort food.

hunky1

One of my great-grandmother’s cookbooks–published in 1955!

It just so happens that my mom dug up her grandmother’s (my great-grandma’s) old cookbooks the other day, so I thought I’d try to whip up one of these recipes with my own flair. My maternal grandfather’s family was extremely Hungarian, so most of the books and recipes that my mom rediscovered include things like ‘pot steak,’ jellied pigs’ feet, and stuffed cabbage. Considering that most people these days aren’t gnawing away on pickled pigs’ feet, I thought I’d go for a classic slow-cooked dish: chicken paprikás.

Looking over the few different recipes for chicken paprikás in my great grandmother’s cookbooks, I noticed that there was a serious lack of vegetables in all of them. But, to be fair, this dish originated as humble country grub. While the adapted recipe I’ve provided below may not be totally authentic, I found it to be flavorful and a tad more nutritious. (Veggies 4 lyfe!)

hung2

One of the variations I found in my great-grandma’s cookbooks.

Here’s a bit of background on this beloved Hungarian entrée:

Chicken paprikás is named for the spice that stars in this flavorful red dish. Paprika is made by grinding the pods of Capsicum annuum peppers into a powder. It can come in eight different grades, varying from mildly sweet and bright red (Különleges) to a dark reddish brown with ample heat (Erös). Paprika has become pretty much synonymous with Hungarian cooking, but the peppers from which it is made did not originate anywhere near Central Europe.

IMG_3924

My version of paprikás simmering away on the stove.

Native to North and northern South America, Capsicum annuum is a species of pepper that varies widely in shape, size, color, and level of spice.1 It is said that Christopher Columbus mistook these spicy plants for the source of prized black pepper and brought them back to Spain from the New World at the end of the 15th century.2, 3 However, culinary use of these peppers did not take off immediately. Paprika peppers, or ‘Turkish peppers’ were actually used as exotic ornamental plants in wealthy Europeans’ gardens.3

Like many ingredients in the culinary world, paprika did come full circle, though. In the 16th and 17th centuries, paprika was brought to Hungary from the Balkans by Greek, Turkish, and Slavic peoples.3 Peasants and herdsmen began using the spice in their simple stews, such as gulyás (goulash), and eventually wealthier folks embraced the practice as well. It is suggested that widespread use of paprika in Hungary came about in the late 18th century, when it appears on a written monastery inventory, and even as a surname in a few registry documents.3IMG_3901

Nowadays, paprika is typically used as a finishing touch of color atop deviled eggs, but if you’re looking for some truly authentic flavor in your paprikás or gulyás, look for the Hungarian variety. The two main hubs for paprika production in Hungary are Szeged and Kalocsa, and each is home to a paprika museum and festival. (Szeged brand is what I used in the recipe below, and it is available in many grocery stores.)

Chicken Paprikás

  • 2 Tbsp. bacon fat or oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushroom caps, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 lbs. chicken pieces (I opted for skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (approx.)
  • 2.5 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sour cream brought to room temperature
  • Cooked egg noodles for serving

Heat bacon fat or oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and carefully brown, stirring frequently to avoid sticking and burning. After the onions are browned, salt and pepper the chicken pieces and add them to the pot. Brown chicken on both sides. Add the red pepper, garlic, and mushrooms, stirring to incorporate well. Allow to saute for a few minutes.

Carefully brown the onions and chicken.

Carefully brown the onions and chicken.

Add enough chicken broth to just cover the chicken pieces, being sure to scrape the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the paprika and tomato paste, lower heat to a simmer, and cover. Let cook for approximately one hour.

The chicken should be tender and easily come off the bone, and the drippings should be of a sauce consistency once done. If there is too much liquid, cook a little longer uncovered to boil it off, or use a roux to thicken to desired consistency.

Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Take the room temperature sour cream and slowly stir in warm sauce from the pot a spoonful at a time. This ‘tempering’ helps to ensure that your sauce will incorporate smoothly rather than break or curdle. Once the sour cream is warmed, add it all to the pot and stir.

Voila: A hearty hunky favorite!

Voila: A hearty hunky favorite!

Serve hot over dumplings, rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles. Enjoy!

Sources:
1) Paprika. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/442178/paprika
2) Swains, H. (2013). Paprika: A primer on Hungary’s spicy obsession. Retrieved
from http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/29/travel/paprika-hungary/
3) Smith, M., & Jusztin, M. (2014). Paprika: The spice of life in Hungary. In Jolliffe, L.
(Ed.), Spices and tourism: Destinations, attractions, and cuisines (pp. 53-71). Bristol, UK: Channel View.
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