Updated: Mar 9, 2019
When I asked Melody to join me on my Podcast she was more than happy to oblige, asking what she should prepare for. I mentioned how I wanted to focus on Family Heirloom Recipes, recipes that have been passed down in her family or ones that are specifically associated with a certain member that may have been lost.
She immediately suggested Chicken Paprikash, an eastern European dish that her grandmother used to make. I was lucky enough that Melody was not only willing to discuss this recipe with me but she was going to cook for me as well!
Here is Melody’s Chicken Paprikash, with some commentary from me as I watched her put it together.
To listen to our episode click HERE
4 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (We used Canola)
1 C Sour Cream
1 ½ Tbsp Flour
3 C Chicken Stock
3 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika
Salt and Pepper to Taste
You don’t know how stoked I was to have someone else cook! Don’t get me wrong, I live for cooking for my friends, but sometimes it is nice to be the one who gets to ask “what do you need help with”. And it is extra nice for the answer to that question be “nothing”.
As many good Eastern European recipes, this one is filled with cream, fat, and dark meat. Melody and I have gotten into lengthy discussions on the topic of dark meat (chicken thighs and legs) and how they have gotten a bad wrap. I have been shocked how many times people tell me they don’t like dark meat and prefer a boneless...skinless...chicken breast. I certainly hope that if you are in that camp, that you try this recipe and change your mind.
Dark meat holds all the wonderful flavors, and when seared on a hot skillet the fat can be used to cook your onions, creating a rich tapestry of gorgeous flavors.
On to the recipe!
Begin by heating up your cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season your room temperature chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper on both sides, add butter and oil to your skillet and cook your thigh skin side down for 7 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
While your chicken is cooking, preheat your oven to 200℉. Once your thighs are nice and crispy place into the oven on a pan to keep warm.
Leave all that delicious fat in the pan and add your onions. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low depending on your stove and slowly cook your onions. This is a long slow process, we don’t want to burn the sugars in the onions so do not worry about how long it is taking to caramelize. It will cook for about 30 minutes. Move the onions around every once in a while.
When the onions are finished sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Let the paprika toast in the skillet for a minute or two then add in your stock and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take a minute to marvel at the color! It literally looks like a planet as the different hues of reds swirling together with the stock.
While the sauce is reducing take the time to boil your water for your egg noodles. Once boiling, add salt and add in enough for your portions of noodles. Cook for 6-8 minutes.
Reduce the heat again, too low so the stock is barely simmering. No more then very small bubbles should be appearing in the sides of the pan. While the sauce is cooking mix flour and sour cream in a separate bowl until smooth. We are going to temper the cream. Here is one of those moments that one may ask (like Melody did when she first learned this recipe) what the hell is tempering?
Tempering is a process used when combining two different acidic or temperature levels while cooking to avoid curdling or separating ingredients. In this case, we want to gently warm up the cream. To do this we add the hot liquid to the bowl of sour cream small portions at a time. Using a ladle, pour a bit of sauce into the cream and fold the cream together. Repeat this process about three times until the cream is sufficiently warm.
Once your cream mixture is warm and no longer thick you can add it to the larger pot of sauce. Stir vigorously and do NOT let the sauce come back to a boil. If it boils the cream will break and that would make everyone sad.
Plate over noodles, sprinkle with a little basil if you have it and enjoy! It is a wonderful dinner for a cold night...easy to clean too!