My mom read Dracula a few years ago and all of those wonderful, aromatic dishes described in the book made her hungry for traditional comfort foods of Eastern Europe. One such dish is chicken paprika and has become a family favorite since she first made it for us. This is a perfect dish for autumn and winter. Its cheap, quick and perfect for a weeknight dinner.
From Bram Stoker's Dracula:
"Jonathan Harker's Journal
3 May. Bistritz. __Left Munich at 8:35 P. M, on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.
The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.
We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl," and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians."
This is a very traditional dish and much like the recipe for paprika itself, every family does it differently. I've read several variations on this recipe, some using a whole chicken, some without the bell peppers, some served with rice or dumplings. This is how mom made it and it worked out well so this is how we make it at my house.
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 bell peppers
1-2 onions, depending on how much you like onions
a ton of smoked hungarian paprika
2 cups chicken broth
a little olive oil/vegetable oil- whatever you have on hand
something to pile it on such as egg noodles, dumplings or rice
sprinkle some salt on the chicken breast and dump the ground black pepper on like its going out of style. Toss it in a pan heated with a few tablespoons of oil. Brown the chicken
Add onions and peppers, cut up however you like them. We do big strips but you could definitely dice them if you like.
let the veggies cook for a few minutes, then shove everything off to one side.
then add a shit ton of smoked paprika to the remaining oil/juices. If it looks like you don't have much liquid in there, you could add a little chicken broth, just to help mix the paprika . I probably add more paprika than anyone ever has. If you're a normal person, add a few tablespoons but if you're like me, add like....I don't know, 5 or 6 tablespoons or more. Mix that good stuff in with the oil juices to form a paste, then stir it all up with the chicken and veggies.
Next, add 2 cups of chicken broth, stir it up and let it simmer for 10 minutes or till the liquid has reduced to form a light sauce.
Serve on top of dumplings, rice or egg noodles. You can also add a dollop of sour cream on top.