Elizabeth's Chicken Paprikas

Some say good cooks are born, as if there’s some sort of "cooking" gene. I happen to believe it. My father’s mother, Elizabeth Boros Gage, was the daughter of Hungarian immigrants, and probably the best home cook I ever met. She grew up in a neighborhood heavy with immigrants of all nationalities on the south side of Columbus, Ohio, and began cooking for her family as a young teenager after her mother suffered a debilitating stroke.

I am blessed that her recipes were recorded in a small cookbook compiled by her church women’s guild, and I love reading the old recipes in which green bell peppers are referred to as "mangos" and directions suggest that you measure "two juice glasses of flour." I’m sharing my short-cut version of her delicious Chicken Paprikas, a traditional Hungarian entree.

The recipe keeps with tradition, but the use of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of a whole chicken cut up, decreases the cooking time. I chose thighs rather than boneless breasts because they are more flavorful and are less likely to dry out.

You could serve your Chicken Paprikas over egg noodles, but I’ve included my grandmother’s recipe for Hungarian dumplings called Galuska because in my family nothing else will do.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup water, in all
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups regular or low fat sour cream
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and green bell peppers and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika and salt. Add chicken thighs and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Add 1/4 cup of the water, cover and simmer on medium-low.

After 20 minutes, remove chicken from the pan. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup water and sour cream together in a small bowl. Add to the pan, stirring well. Return chicken to pan and serve over Hungarian Dumplings (Galuska) or egg noodles.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Hungarian Dumplings (Galuska)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients, beating until well combined. When water is boiling, drop batter by teaspoons into the water, stirring so they do not stick to the bottom. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon when they rise to the top. Continue until all batter is used.

Makes 4-6 servings. 

Note: The dumplings can be made ahead, drizzled with melted butter and warmed in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes.