Quick Chicken Paprikash

Paprikash bubbling in the pan.

This is fast food, really, but it tastes slow. We all need a few thirty-minute recipes like this in our respective repertoires to get ourselves through the daily “what to make for dinner” dilemma. It probably is a travesty of some sort to call this a real paprikash, which usually calls for slow braising of bone-in chicken pieces. Still it is flavorful, and something you can do with boneless, skinless chicken breasts which too often come off hard and dry.

Somewhere a few months ago, I was reading about paprika, and the foodwriter suggested acquiring some smoked paprika. So, the next time I went to the Belfast Coop I spotted it among the herbs and spices and thought, why not. Every once in a while I add to my supply something I have never used, in what is occasionally a feeble attempt to jolt myself out of a rut.

I have not taken paprika very seriously. I suspect the garden variety paprika most of us acquire tastes good enough, and fulfills the need for color on potato salad, or deviled eggs, or otherwise beige dishes. Paprika deserves more credit than that. This smoked stuff is really terrific and combined with chicken, tomatoes, and sour cream it is stellar.

The recipe could be extended to use pork or turkey. If there is a vegetarian in your midst, I bet you could make a tasty version with cauliflower or tofu. If you want, try using Greek-style yogurt in place of the sour cream.

Chicken Paprikash

Noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons paprika, smoked or not

2 cups of whole canned tomatoes

½ cup sour cream

2 halves boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Start the noodles by heating cooking water.  Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan and begin to cook the onions. As soon as the water is hot, cook the noodles according to instructions on the package. Add the paprika and the tomatoes to the sautéed onion, cook briefly to heat through, then add the chicken pieces. It will take only five to ten minutes for the chicken to be cooked through. Drain the noodles and butter them lightly to keep them from becoming sticky. Arrange noodles on a platter. Stir the sour cream into the chicken and pour the chicken and sauce over the noodles and serve.

Makes two to three servings.

Looking for….A good lemon meringue pie recipe. Not too much cornstarch, please, and from scratch with lemons I squeeze myself. Anyone?

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.