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Dracula's 2012 Paprika Hendl Dinner Party! - Event Date: 28 October 2012 - 03 November 2012

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 October 2012 at 14:12
Dracula's 2012 Paprika Hendl Party!
 
In Bram Stoker's Dracula, a humble chicken dish called paprika hendl is featured; it is a simple and delicious dish with Hungarian, German and Transylvanian origins, and in the spirit of Halloween, I invite everyone to make this dish for supper in their home on or around Halloween (28 October through 3 November, 2012) ~
 
 
Click here for the literary and cultural history of this dish as well as the recipe and step-by-step pictures of the preparation:
 
 
Also, be sure to invite any of your foodie friends who might be interested!
 
Here is a link to last year's party, along with some discussion and many pictures from people who gave this a try:
 
 
 
It's easy, it's delicous, and it's just right for Halloween. I hope to see some pictures of everyone's take on this!
 
Ron
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 October 2012 at 14:47
Tas. Looks like an interesting full flavored classic .. Tomorrow I shall read all yor links. I like the aromas . paprika. and sauce so far. Wkend first Nov. is National Holiday so I have plans to do a lunch. Margi.
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jipcee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 October 2012 at 17:08
This was such a tasty dish, I can't believe I haven't made it since 2011! Shocked I'm hoping to get this on the menu and will send pics. Thanks for the reminder!
Karen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 October 2012 at 13:52
Looks great! My in-laws will be in town and I ought to make this for them. I'll let you know how it goes...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 October 2012 at 22:04
Okay, Ron, you asked for it.  Now you're going to have to contend with an elevated bar! Wink

Paprika hendl -- nothing wrong with it, but that doesn't mean that we can't pull it apart and put it back together, keeping what's good and adding more better.  So, the basic strategy is to identify what could be better, then do something to make it better while keeping the basic flavor of the dish.

What could be better:
  • Stewed or braised chicken skin isn't the best.  Crispy skin is better.
  • All red and brown isn't the best.  Bringing more color and visual contrast to the dish is better.
  • A whole lot of sauce that has been muddled with a lot of cream and thickened with flour isn't the best.  Less but more intensely and cleanly flavored sauce is better.
  • Thoughtless starch ("just add some potatoes or dumplings or whatever") isn't the best.  A starch preparation that will actually add something interesting to the dish is better.
So, how to make it better?
  • Frying or roasting the chicken would get us crispy skin, but not having the bones braised in the sauce will eliminate much of the body, feel, and character of the sauce and dish.  We really need to treat the bones and the skin separately.  Okay, let's do that: Bone out the chicken; bones and wings in the sauce pot; rest of the chicken becomes a ballotine.  Watch the master.
  • We'll want to present the beautiful slices of the ballotine naked and exposed, not covered up by sauce.  Now we've already got the white of the chicken meat contrasting with the red-brown sauce.  We've also got the opportunity to introduce color and a more interesting starch in the stuffing of the ballotine.  Okay, let's do that, pumping up the dish by using a traditional Hungarian parsley stuffing (you only need about half of that recipe, and I also cut the butter proportion about in half.)
  • If we don't add the sour cream and flour to the sauce, then we can reduce it to develop body while producing intense and vibrant flavor and color.  Losing the flour is all good, but losing the sour cream would significantly alter the flavor of the dish.  Okay, so let's bring back the sour cream by thinning it down into a sauce by adding some white wine.  Strain the reduced tomato-paprika sauce, and now we've got two bright, contrasting sauces with which to paint the plates in lots of interesting ways.
  • Still want the potato in the dish?  Okay, lets make some crispy potato pancakes to go under our ballotine slices.
Put that all together and what do you get?  My interpretation of paprika hendl, Halloween-style:



It was very, very good.  The only thing I'd do different next time is substitute in some hotter powdered chilies for some of the paprika (it could have used some more heat) and work at getting my ballotine more even (this was my first ballotine ever.)  Oh, and also make sure that the batteries in the camera are charged so I don't have to resort to using a smart phone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2012 at 00:17
Daikon Good Morning,
Great job re.engineering, I must say.  
 
 
From my viewpoint, I agree with your enhancements & lightening up totally, and of course the Jacques Pepin Dvd was very informative; thus, which 100% improves not only the flavor profile, however makes the dish alot healthier and trims all that starch and heavy fat down to a minimum, thus a lighter more pleasant dish on delicate stomachs.
 
 
I also like the paprika and chili blend suggestion and the stuffed parsley chicken very much; and eliminating the potato factor.
 
 
I am not a big potato fan, thus, prefer a small baked potato as a side or a side of spicy double fried Spanish Bravas ( recipe in the Iberian Section).
 
Thanks for ur contribtion.
 
Margi.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2012 at 12:31
   Tas, the dish looks so tasty, I can't wait to try it. 

Daikon, your dish, and interpretation, looks great...thanks for sharing :)

  Dan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2012 at 08:09
Daikon -
 
I was eagerly hoping you would take a stab at this (no pun intended), and I must say that I am honoured to see that you took the ball and ran it straight into the end zone - and beyond! I am really impressed with the way you identified areas where improvements could be made - and then went out and did them. You re-interpreted the dish in a way that not only makes it more approachable for modern eating habits, but also can still be right at home in the "peasant" setting; nothing is overly-exotic or advanced, and it remains entirely at home in old Klausenburgh - especially considering that it is being served at an establishment called the "Hotel Royale."
 
The ballotine concept for the chicken is something that brings the dish to a whole new level, but is still not so elaborate as to make it inapproachable - any home cook can prepare your dish with a little care. I took a look at the video and found it to be extremely valuable, since I've been wanting to use the method for a few things I would like to try.
 
The stuffing really is a traditional, family Hungarian recipe, and works exactly as you intended to provide colour while keeping traditional - excellent!
 
The crispy potato pancake is once again entirely traditional and true to the cuisine - providing an excellent alternative as well as another texture to be enjoyed.
 
Your colours and plating are first-rate - it goes without saying that the spider-web arrangement of the sauce is a stroke of creative and innovative genius, and it also serves the dual function of bringing a real punch of flavour while reducing the heaviness of the dish - I can only imagine the how incredibly the sour cream-wine reduction worked with the rich tomato-and-paprika sauce.
 
Sincerely well done - on all sides: lightening the dish, modernising it, executing it, retaining the "Old-Worldness" of it -  and above all in keeping with the halloween spirit and the theme. 5 stars for an incredible re-structuring!
 
Indeed, the bar is now set pretty high - I have a couple of ideas but am not sure if I'll have the resources to do what I want within the period of time that is alloted - we shall see!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2012 at 08:54
  Tas, I'm going to be a little late with my dish.  There's just too many fall clean-up projects that have to get done before Nov. 1 and then we have our youngest six birthday too.  I will get to it though.

  Dan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2012 at 08:58
No problem, Dan - I'm going to try mine for this coming weekend, assuming everything goes according to plan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2012 at 09:12
Tas,
 
I agree with you 100%. Daikon has done a truly remarkable job.
 
All my kindest.
Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2012 at 09:27
Glad you all enjoyed it.  Taking apart simple, traditional dishes and rebuilding them into something else but still the same is great fun.  You're right, Ron, that my approach is still very approachable, requiring only three bits of knowledge or technique that many home cooks don't already know -- and all three are pretty easy.  

The trickiest is the boning out of the chicken.  Watch Pepin a few times, though, and it is really not hard.  Seeing his efficient, fluid movements, I have no doubt that he can make good on his claim to be able to bone out a chicken in a minute.  It took me four -- just not a very difficult task.

Technique two is simply grating the potatoes for your pancakes directly into a big bowl of water.  When you cut or grate potatoes, starch immediately leaches out on the surface.  Grating into water means that the starch gets washed off and ends up collecting in the bottom of the bowl.  If you don't wash off the starch, it will turn your pancakes into a gray, gluey mess when you fry them.  Instead just grab a handful of grated potato out of the water, squeeze out the water, and shallow fry over medium heat for about 5 or 6 minutes per side until golden.  Drain, salt and keep them on a rack until you are ready to plate.

Technique three is patterning the sauces -- not so much innovative genius as just repurposing a pastry chef technique (you can do similar things with caramel and chocolate sauces, with creme anglaise and raspberry puree, etc.)  Just lay down a thin layer of your base sauce (go ahead and tip the plate to spread it around), layout a pattern of the second sauce with a squeeze bottle (just concentric circles in this case -- and I could have used a squeeze bottle with a narrower nozzle), then stroke through both sauces with a knife.  So simple that I assigned the job to my non-cooking friend after showing him one -- I didn't even do the one in the photo.

Have fun!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2012 at 11:04
When I do make this, I'm going to see about trying the potato pancakes, possibly with this recipe:
 
 
Daikon - your note above about grating them into a bowl of water should be exactly the solution to fix what happened the last time I attempted potato pancakes - thanks for the tip!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2012 at 05:47
Oh my. I need to get shopping. The usual chicken farmer I go to was out this weekend! They put my order aside for me to pick up tomorrow. Lots to think about if I'm going to try this out with any changes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2012 at 07:20
yikes!
 
to be honest everyone, the "week of halloween" is just a guideline ~ if it's a few days late, no worries.Wink
 
i've got a few ideas on mine after thinking about it last night. it depends mostly on our budget and schedule for this weekend, but i am hoping i can put it all together.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2012 at 08:24
No worries! I'm in. Makin' it tonight for dinner.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2012 at 11:19
I have all the stuff, but since Diakons interpretation, I no longer know how I should approach this. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 October 2012 at 11:35
rod - i know what you mean! a lot of daikon's ideas really gave me some inspiration and i'd like to try them. i'm currently thinking of combining a traditional, rural approach with a modern, more urban approach, but i'm not 100% sure how to go about it.
 
i'd say whatever you want to do and whatever you think you will like is the way to go - i remember your paprikas cirske, and the sense of old-fashioned family tradition that you made it with. you can look at it from that point of view, or maybe contrast that with something more modern - kind of a country mouse/city mouse thing?
 
whatever you choose, i bet it will be good!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Feather Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2012 at 16:21
BOOOOOO---did I scare you?
Happy Halloween!!!
Lovely Paprika concoction!
I didn't have time to make one so scary. Thank you for the entertainment. ~Feather
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 October 2012 at 17:01
I made this tonight and wrecked it. Wrecked it by using bad paprika. I should have known better. It wasn't the usual brand. Even though the brand new can said sweet and delicate, and had an expiration date of more than a year out it was no good. I had already started the dish and when I popped the lid on the can so I could spoon the paprika out I noticed it was not a brilliant red like it should be. It was brown. I shouldn't have used it, but I did any way and I wrecked the dish.

So, learn from my mistakes and make sure the paprika you buy is the good stuff. Use only a can that says "Pride of Szeged, Hungarian, Exquisite 100% Sweet Delicacy, Paprika" and open the can right in the store and make sure it is filled with brilliant red powder. DO NOT bother with anything else.
Hungry
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