Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chicken Paprikash

Years ago, more than a quarter century, truth be told, I spent a few months immersed in George Lang's "The Cuisine of Hungary," teaching myself the fundamentals and absorbing the classics such as Paprikás Csirke, paprika chicken, better known as Chicken Paprikash. And from there, starting from the classic dish, I felt free to change it, to integrate it into my culinary vocabulary, and ultimately, to make it mine. I haven't made the dish in over a quarter century and it had been largely relegated to the recesses of my mind until Monday when suddenly, it popped quite jarringly into full consciousness.

Chicken Paprikash Soup
In an instant, I knew what was for dinner. I would make a soup version of paprikás csirke.

Lard, yellow onions, and paprika are the holy trinity of Hungarian cooking. To do it right, you must use lard, not something I have in any quantity at home. But I have bacon and if I have bacon, I can sure render some lard. Though non-traditional, I love the smokiness that bacon brings to the party. And then for paprika, because some smoke is good, more must be better, so I chose to use a really good Spanish pimentón, a smoked paprika.

Finished with small pieces of egg pasta, my version is not authentically made, but it certainly is authentic in spirit. And it is what I wanted for dinner.

Quoting my wife, "You have to make that soup again. FREAKIN AWESOME." Thank you George!

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