This is one of the most cherished and controversial recipes in my family. The original recipe comes from a small book of recipes that my Polish grandmother recorded for my grandfather so that he could cook easy and hearty food when he was off on sporting trips with other male friends. My father whispers that my mother’s version doesn’t taste like his mother’s; my mother fumes silently, and I yearn to create the perfect rendition of Hungarian Chicken and thereby restore family harmony. Hopefully, this recipe rests a mere notch below memories of my grandmother’s mastery.
Makes8 to 10 servings
Total Timeunder 2 hours
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecreamy, meaty, savory, spiced
- 4 ounces salt pork, cut into very fine dice
- 2 large onions, cut into thin crescent slivers
- 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 2 heaping tablespoons best-quality sweet Hungarian paprika, or more if desired
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
- ½ cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped
- 5 whole chicken breasts, halved
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- Salt to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a large skillet fry the salt pork over medium-high heat until lightly browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the onions and bell pepper to the salt pork and sauté until the onion is soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika and tomato paste. When the mixture is bright red, stir in the chicken broth and celery leaves.
Add the chicken to the skillet, cover, and simmer slowly over medium-low heat, basting the meat occasionally with the vegetable mixture. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken pieces over, cover again, and simmer until the chicken is very tender, about 45 minutes more.
Using a large slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm. Whisk together the flour and sour cream until smooth, then slowly whisk it into the pan juices and vegetables. Heat through but do not boil, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt.
Return the chicken to the skillet and coat with the sauce. Serve over wide egg noodles, rice, or spaetzle.
1990 Sarah Leah Chase