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Paprikás Csirke

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Rod Franklin View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 September 2012 at 06:00
Now, there are lots of ways to make this and this is the way I make it. I grew up on chicken paprikas. I've had it hundreds of times. The way I make it is not the way my Grandmother made it. She made it "home style," or in other words she made it to feed many without a lot of fuss and with a mind for how much it cost. At the end I will relate how it's done in the home style method.

The goods: Chicken parts. In this case legs, wings and thighs. Flour and eggs to make Nokedli (dumplings), onions, cream, sour cream, salt and pepper, and of course sweet Szeged paprika. What's missing from the pictures is bay leaves. You'll need 3 whole leaves:

 
Process the chicken parts. Disjointing the wings, trimming extra skin and fat.
 

 
The fat and extra skin was chopped finely and the knees and wing tips will be used for chicken soup at some later date.

Those knees didn't come off the end of those legs or the thighs chopped in half with that little knife in the picture above. Say hello to my leedle fren. I call him Dexter.



Fry the chopped up skin and fat over medium heat to render out the fat and brown things nicely.



You'll end up with 3 things. 1 - enough fat to fry the chicken pieces. 2 - enough fat to add some to the chicken fat jar in the refrigerator. And 3 - chicken cracklins!


 
Salt the cracklins as soon as they land on the plate. These will end up in a batch of biscuits on a day in the near future. EDIT: Like these, with butter and honey. Good!



Shhhh. Hear that? Listen... You hear it. It's this jar of chicken fat saying "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."


 
This is a jar of melted chicken fat in a re-purposed pint jar. This picture shows it half full of melted fat. The rendering shown above did not produce all of this fat. It as added to what was in the jar. This jar lives in the refrigerator and as such is cold. It would be unwise to drop hot fat into a cold jar of fat. Just heat the cold jar for 10 seconds in the microwave and stir it. 10 seconds, stir, 10 seconds, stir till cold fat in jar is mostly melted. Then add the newly rendered fat and stir it in immediately. Then back in the refrigerator.

Into the pan goes the chicken. No need to change the heat setting. Brown it nicely. Meanwhile chop the onions. I shoot for a pile of onions to equal the volume of the chicken used. That's a lot of onions. In this case it was 5 of the onions shown in the "goods" picture at the beginning of this thread.

Here's the onions:


 
And the finished chicken:
 

 
The chicken could have been a little less cooked.
 
And the fond. The beautiful fond...



Add the onions to the pan. Same heat. You DO NOT want to brown them. Not even a little bit. Just sweat them down to develop the sugars. The brown you see is the color added from the fond, which you will notice is no longer in the bottom of the pan.



After the onions are softened and the fond is completely lifted, add maybe 3 heaping tablespoons of paprika. Same heat. Stir it just to coat the paprika with the oil in the pan. Like making a roux. Don't let it brown.



Then immediately add the bay leaves and about 1 1/2 quarts of water and the chicken and salt and pepper. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1/2 hour.



Now, Lets talk nokedli, spaetzle, or as I've always called them, dumplings. These things were and always are made of whole eggs, flour, water, salt and pepper and yes, if you have them, mashed chicken livers.

The first thing to do is put a big pot of water on to boil.



Now we have to talk about equipment related to your chosen method of making these things. The time honored method is to mix the dumpling dough to a thickness that will slowly drool out of a tipped mixing bowl. This bowl of dough would be tipped and held over the boiling water and as the dough drooled over the edge of the bowl a knife would be used to shave thin dumplings off the edge of the bowl and into the water, dipping the knife into the boiling water to clear the blade and stir the dumplings so they didn't stick to one another. Typically this would end with some real horse choking dumplings as the cook tired of shaving hundreds of small dumplings into the water and would let them get bigger and bigger towards the end. This is what I grew up with, big dumplings.

But it need not be so. I created the tool shown below. I pie pan from a premium frozen pie with holes punched in it:



This requires a slightly thinner dough and because it covers the whole top of the pot of water, it requires the cook to lift this pan off the top of the pot to stir the dumplings to keep them from sticking. Not a great problem, but one the cook needs to be aware of. It's easy to feel like you can dump the entire recipe of dough into the pan because a lot of dough will fit in the pan, but it needs to be put in there in installments to make the lifting and stirring part easier. I used the pan this time and I did it in 3 installments without trouble. It works good and doesn't cost much.
 
Then there is the classic spaetzle maker.



This works real well. It needs to be loaded more often, but it allows you to see into the pot of boiling water and stir the dumplings without removing the speatzle maker from the top of the pot. It uses a dough of the same thickness as the pie plate thing. It's got a lot more nooks and crannies to clean out when you're done.
 
To make the dumplings crack whole eggs into a bowl. I used 6 eggs because I wanted extra, but you should use 5. 
 


The 1/2 egg shell in the bowl is interesting because it is the measure for water. I filled that egg shell with water one time per number of eggs used. In my case 6 times.
 
Add the water, salt and pepper to taste and the mashed chicken liver if you have it. Add flour to the proper consistently. In my case I used about 3 cups of flour. Using one of the methods above get the dough into the pot and cook for maybe five minutes after the last of the dough is in the pot.

EDIT: Here's a picture of the dough falling through the altered pie tin and into the water. I'm not pushing it through. It is just slightly thinner than it should have been.  However, the dough should fall through the holes but a little more slowly than I hope is indicated here. You just need to help it along with a spatula, if that makes sense. And stir more often... so as to avoid that pile up of dough in the pot.



Taking pictures while I'm cooking degrades my concentration and I mess things up. I'm not much of a multi-tasker I guess.
 
Here's a nice pot of dumplings.

 
Strain the dumplings and put them in a bowl with some chicken fat and butter:


 
And stir them to mix well:
 


Now we put it all together.

After the 1/2 hour of simmering the chicken is done, remove the chicken to the side and find the bay leaves and throw them away. Turn up the heat under the pan and add 2 more heaping tablespoons of paprika, 1/4 cup or so of cream and that whole container of sour cream. Stir and stir with a spatula or a whisk or what ever till the sauce is smooth. You don't really want to boil it, but you want to bring it close to a boil. Check it for salt and pepper and paprika.


 
The color looks a little bland, and it's really not accurate. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to take pictures.

Here it is on a plate.



Well, there it is. As I make it. Notice that it is served very "wet." There needs to be plenty of sauce to foil the relative blandness of the dumplings.

As promised I'll give you the home style version. I've made it and eaten it this way many, many times and it's good.

Cut up a whole chicken. Sweat, but don't brown 2 or 3 onions in lard or bacon fat till soft and sweet. Add paprika, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir it together well. Add the chicken pieces, skin on, including the back, neck, liver, gizzards and heart and enough water to feed everybody. Bring to the boil then lower the heat to simmer. Meanwhile, heat a big pot of water. Find the chicken liver that should now be cooked and smash it to fine, fine bits on a plate with a fork. Mix it into the eggs and water and complete making the dumpling dough per the instructions above. Using the shaving off the edge of the bowl method finish the dumplings. Drain them, but do not add butter or chicken fat. Turn off the heat under the chicken and as best as you can incorporate as much sour cream as you feel you can afford and maybe some more paprika. Check for salt and pepper. Place the pot of drained dumplings and the pot of chicken on the table and let everyone have at it.

Soul food.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 07:31
Rod,
 
Truly impressive work of art and descriptives. Thanks so much for posting.
 
I have never made Hungarian cuisine before. Certainly something which could be alot of fun for a Saturday afternoon with our interntl. friends.
 
You have named this "soul food " ...
 
This is traditional Hungarian and my, I love Paprika and its aromas. Shall have to put this on the list of To Get Coached by Rod and prepare in the autumn ...
 
All my best.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 September 2012 at 09:22
Rod
 
Outstanding, wonderful and so timely, with summer coming to a close!
 
You have nailed this, my friend - with great, well-written instructions, good photography showing the important parts and an impressive nod toward your roots, and an obvious affection for the dish and the memories that came with it.
 
I was especially interested in the dumplings, since I have heard so much about them and know their importance in Central European cooking. I've made similar versions, but never the Hungarian, which I will indeed have to try, using the pie-plate method - a great improvisation ~
 
I'll be looking to try the meal as a whole, and will post a picture when I do.
 
5 stars! StarStarStarStarStar
 
Thanks for posting, and we'll be looking forward to more.  
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Well, I thank both of you! I am humbled by your praise.

It is a simple dish. And I think those are the best kind! And I do call it soul food. It is a go to comfort food for me, and I believe that fits the definition.

I could add a thing about the dumplings. It's hard to convey what the proper viscosity, if that is the right term, of the dough should be. If it is too loose the dumplings will sort of dissolve in the boiling water and that is a mess and a waste. I use a spatula to mix the dough and I raise the spatula out of the bowl from time to time as I mix flour in. The way it falls from the spatula tells me when to stop adding flour. To tell if the dough is at least the minimum thickness, you can let some drip from the edge of the spatula into the boiling water and watch what happens. The drip of dough should fall in, sink some and come right back to the surface in one piece. However it needs to be thicker than the minimum thickness. You want it to fall through the holes, but not too fast and not too slow. Smile

I didn't get pictures of the dough making and dumpling dropping. I just got into what I was doing and I forgot. I'm not sure anything short of a video would have captured the viscosity anyway.

I always make extra dumplings. You can use your imagination and come up with a lot of ways to use them.

I look forward to your review.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 09:50
Rod,
 
I have a curious question in ref to your dumplings. I have made POTATO GNOCCHI & RAVIOLI & AGNOLOTTI as well as Lasagne Sheets.  
 
Do the dumplings need to be of wheat flour for this dish ? Could they be potato ?
 
Question 2 Rod; how many eggs are you using for the dumplings ? I think too many create a too soft, batter ... They are like Gnocchi in sense of the depositing in the boiling water ... or ravioli ...
 
Thanks, for clarifying in advance. It looks super and its on the LIST ... Just waiting for the temperature to drop to autumny ,,,  It is almost 85 degrees ...
 
Ciao.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 10:36
Margi,

I don't know anything about potato dumplings. So if you folks go there you are on your own.

I have had the sauce over egg noodles, and I've had the sauce thinned to a soup consistency and eaten it as a kind of chicken soup with and without dumplings or noodles.  But what are egg noodles? The same as these dumplings but with more flour and rolled out and cut into strips.

These dumplings are made with all purpose white wheat flour. You could use one egg or 100 eggs. It all depends on how many dumplings of this type you want to make. All you need to know is the ratio of one whole egg : 1/2 egg shell of water : approximately 1/2 cup of flour.

For the above recipe, I suggested the use of 5 eggs.

I always make extra and I always just add flour till the consistency is as I want it. I don't measure. If I add too much flour I add another egg and 1/2 egg shell of water and go from there. You just end up with more dumplings.

Make one eggs worth of dough/batter. Notice the consistency so you get familiar with it. Make the dumplings per the "time honored method" as described in my third post to this thread, and test the batter as I described in my post just before this one. Don't bother to add the fat or butter and serve them with gently sweated onions and sour cream.

Go with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 10:46
>>>Don't bother to add the fat or butter and serve them with gently sweated onions and sour cream.<<<
 
good grief - that sounds wonderful right now.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 10:53
Rod,
 
Got it.
 
Thanks for the clarification on the eggs and their quantities for the Dumplings. I can get authentic Hungarian Products here at the centre Location of El Corte Ingles (www.elcorteingle.es ), one of the largest super markets in Europe. They have a Club Gourmet, dedicated to foods from all over the world. I need Hungarian Paprika too ...   
 
For me, Egg noodles are a type of Egg Pasta very similar to; and called Tagliatelli or if quite thick, Fettuccini ... They are very common in Hungarian and Austrian cuisines.   
 
This sounds very delicious for a Sunday family meal and it is already on the List of To Do┬┤s as soon as it is a bit cooler ...
 
The caramelized onion and crema agr├şa ( Sour Cream ) sounds like a lovely pairing for this dish.  
 
Thanks.

Marge.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 10:58
Tas, it is wonderful. Do it! Do it right now! Sweat the onions in butter.

Any more questions Margi?  Just ask. To clarify, Hungarians rarely if ever carmelize onions. Thus the "gently sweat" instruction in my post above. Develope the onions natural sweetness? Yes. Burn the onions? Never!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 September 2012 at 11:03
rod - it's something i will definitely try ~   it's simply getting to be that time of year, when dishes like this are really, really appealing. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2012 at 05:14
Boy oh boy this sure looks like a winner to me...nothing like spaetzle to make me feel like a kid again!
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 September 2012 at 06:54
One suggestion about the spaetzle: Do not, as is often recommended, use a collendar as your spaetzle-making tool. The holes are too small, and I wonder if the folks who tout the idea have ever actually tried it.
 
After trying that once I bought a spaetzle maker as pictured above.
 
So, either buy a spaetzle-maker (they're not that expensive), go with Rod's converted pie plate idea, or, if you must use a collendar, first enlarge the holes. But, frankly, trying to rub the batter through a curved surface ain't all that easy, even with the larger holes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 September 2012 at 12:52
I updated the original posts with a couple of pictures. A picture of some chicken craklin' biscuits and another of the dumpling dough falling through the altered pie plate thing. The edits are easy to find as the text added is red.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 September 2012 at 05:20
Rod, Buon Giorno,
 
Thanks for the additional info on the recipe and lovely pictorial prepping.
 
Shall give this a try for autumn. I would like to check around for the tool for preparing the dumplings.
 
If I am going to embark on such a new project, I wish to have the right culinary tools to do so.
 
Thanks Again, Have a nice Sunday,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 October 2012 at 14:10
very nice, rod - i've heard of cracklin' biscuits, but have never tried them. definitely a hungarian treat that should be enjoyed.
 
i'm looking at trying this sometime in november. a couple of questions ~
 
a) regarding the dumplings, what brand of pie did you buy to get that metal dish? the only ones i see around here, doing a quick scan, have tin-foil pans. i might end up going with a commercial spaetzel maker, but money is tight right now, and so of course a pie is cheaper than a quality spaetzel-maker. and you get to eat the pie! Tongue
 
b) can one use broth or stock rather than water (and possibly also add garlic), while still keeping true to your time-honoured method?
 
let me know - i'm planning for this sometime in mid- to late-november ~
 
thanks!
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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 11:58
I believe the pie was a Marie Calendar pie. I'm sure I spelled that wrong. And yeah, it's still a kind of thin pie plate, but it is more substantial than an ordinary one.

Before you make one make sure you have a pot that a pie pan will fit over. I used a 5/16" drift punch, making sure the business end was sharp edged and square. I laid out the concentric circles you can see in the picture with a pair of dividers. After drilling a 5/16" hole in a piece of scrap wood I chucked the drift punch in the drill press and mounted the scrap wood to the work table of the drill press and just faked the placement of the holes as I pressed all of them out. Afterwards laying the pie pan on a flat surface and using another piece of scrap wood that had the sharp edges rounded off to wipe the bottom of the pan to flatten the edges of all the holes.

Please try the dumplings with just one egg first to get the feel for the right dough consistency.

I've never used anything other than water to make this or to cook the dumplings in and my strong suggestion is to just use water. Chicken stock is being made while it simmers for the 1/2 hour. Chicken stock you might buy is notorious for having other flavors mixed in. You don't want to add other flavors like tomatoes or sage or thyme or parsley... or garlic. So NO, stock or garlic just isn't appropriate. Don't over think this dish. It's a simple thing. I've experienced this dish family functions that were, with all good intentions, over thought and altered and the results were not so good.

Essentially all I've tried to do in my procedure is update the techniques used to gain a better sauce consistency and a little more flavor from what is already in the home style version. Except for the elimination of pork fat and the addition of a little butter to the dumplings, the ingredients remain the same. The home style version is very good too, and dead easy. Most all the variations of this dish that I've encountered were the elimination of the liver from the dumplings and varying amounts of sour cream and liquid in general. I've made this many times by starting with frying a few slices of bacon...

And a few notes on paprika. The only exotic ingredient in this is the sweet Szeged paprika, and I've been able to find this in most big grocery stores. The container should say sweet and delicate on the label. Believe me when I tell you that using the right paprika is essential. All paprikas are not the same. So that generic paprika you might find just isn't going to work here. I have experienced people who made this and said they hated it, later to find they used some paprika they found on a dollar store shelf. Don't do that. Don't do that.

This dish and others like the Hendl dish have a lot of paprika in them. It is possible to use too much paprika. It is easy to start with less and add more, but you can't take it out once it's in there, so be wise and take it easy. I've had this with so much paprika it was gritty with the stuff. Way bad. Don't go there.  




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2012 at 10:34
good notes - i will follow them ~
 
after reading this over a time or three, i think i have everything figured out so as to give this a go. i may not have a nokedli device in time to try it; however, if all else fails, i can do the bowl-drip method that you mention in your opening post - no worries!
 
i checked my hungarian paprika at home that i got in billings, and it is indeed the exact same brand you mentioned (pride of szeged).  
 
as for the pie plate, i'll see what i can do. we have that brand of pie here, i just never knew that their pie pan was that sturdy. i will ask my dad to do the holes, since he has quite a bit of equipment that will ensure a good job - also, he's retired now and needs something to do!
 
you mentioned having difficulty describing the viscosity of the nokedli dough - i read at one place that it (the viscosity) should be similar to honey, perhaps just a bit thicker....sound about right?
 
if i have any other questions, i will ask, but i think i've got a pretty good understanding of the dish and the steps, as well as the fundamentals behind each step.
 
thanks for the additional insight -
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2012 at 11:15
Thicker, Ron, thicker. Go with the "cut off the side of the bowl" method. Use one egg just to get the feel. I know I'm gonna fail here to properly describe it, but use the way it falls from the spatula you use to mix it to tell you if it's right. It will drip slowly in a thick and sticky sheet off the edge of the spatula, not like honey at all. But, I can't think of even one other thing to compare it to. This dough is wet and sticky, clinging tenaciously to the sides of the bowl and any other thing it touches, but no where near runny.

Just go with one eggs worth and sliver just one into the boiling water. Off the side of a bowl, shoot for something like just a 3/16" to 1/4" slice off the edge of the bowl. In the water that slice of dough will drop under and very quickly return to the surface and most importantly, still be in one piece. It will swell as it cooks. Watch the process.

Then after that one dumpling is cooking away and you're happy with the doughs consistency, start cutting the rest into the pot. Same thickness, however as you get going your dough slices will turn out to be 3 or more inches long. I use a silicone spatula that is shaped sort of like a knife giving me a long edge to work with. You might want to use the back edge of larger kitchen knife for that same effect. The knife shaped spatula gives me the ability to readjust the dough as it falls toward the edge of the bowl without having to trade off implements in the middle of this process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2012 at 11:25
Quote use the way it falls from the spatula you use to mix it to tell you if it's right. It will drip slowly in a thick and sticky sheet off the edge of the spatula, not like honey at all. But, I can't think of even one other thing to compare it to. This dough is wet and sticky, clinging tenaciously to the sides of the bowl and any other thing it touches, but no where near runny.
 
I think I've got the idea - we'll see on my practice batch ~ Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 November 2012 at 09:17
Here's a youtube video which shows the proper viscosity of the dough.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5YnwhQpIhY&playnext=1&list=PLA65F99660CC32601&feature=results_video  
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