Wednesday, March 21, 2007
my take on chicken paprikash
Found lurking in the back of the freezer on Sunday was a bag of bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. I’ve been buying chicken thighs lately because a) they’re usually cheaper than breasts, and b) they tend to be more flavorful than other parts of the chicken, and c) everything i’ve made from Fucshia Dunlop’s Hunanese cookbook has called for chicken thighs, so i’ve been buying them in bulk and freezing what i don’t use. Since this particular ziplock bag had sufficiently defrosted by yesterday, i was encouraged to make use of them for dinner.
I only had about 5 minutes to myself yesterday, seeing as i kept being pulled into meetings. I am transitioning into a new position at work (hooray for me!) which starts April 2, but i keep being summoned to meet so-and-so, and attend various impromptu gatherings. so i didn’t have much time to surf the web during lunch. Because frankly, when was the last time i took a lunch break? It’s a rare thing. I usually work while shoveling food into my mouth. I know i know, this is something i need to change because i do need that break. I’ve been trying to go outside with patty when she goes on a smoke break, to at least get some sun and some fresh air and get away from this effing computer screen and all the technology that comes along with it. funny, considering i work in the techie field. Heh. So i digress. While eating a Kashi frozen entree, i quickly surfed around on the Cooks Illustrated website for anything i could make with chicken thighs which wouldn’t require a huge trip to the grocery store on the way home; and i settled on chicken paprikash. This would give me the excuse to use the dulce paprika i bought from Spice House, and also make use of the peppers in the “rotter” drawer.
8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, halved widthwise and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, halved widthwise and cut into ¼ inch strips
3 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup or thereabouts of dry white wine (to be frank, i didn’t measure)
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt & pepper
preheat oven to 300 F.
heat the oil in a large Dutch oven (hee) over medium-high heat. season both sides of chicken with a boatload of salt and pepper and cook them in two batches, skin-side down first, without moving them until skin is crisp. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes. brown the other side 4 to 5 minutes longer, then transfer to large plate.
Repeat with the other batch. You can pour off some of the oil from the pot, but make sure to leave about 1 tablespoon of it to cook your onions with.
Add the onions to the pot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. I added a bit of brown sugar to the onions as they were cooking, because i always do this. You don’t want the onion to brown, though, just get soft, so perhaps there is no merit in adding brown sugar. But i find myself becoming more and more like Mothra in my cooking, doing things out of habit or just because that’s the way i’ve always done it nevermind what those fucking celebrity chefs say, so there.
add all the peppers and cook until the onions are browned and peppers are soft, about a few minutes more. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the paprika, the marjoram, and the flour. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Add wine (and i was a bit liberal in my pouring of it), and scrape up the bottom bits with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Remove the skin from the chicken; add those in with the liquid left on the plate, and submerge them under the onions and peppers. bring to a simmer, then cover the whole thing and place the pot in the oven where it should stay for about 25 to 30 minutes. Now do some cleanup, because if you cook like i do, you’ll have dropped your wooden spoon (twice) and made a big red splattery mess on the floor and cabinets. Then go watch TV or do what i did, which was to take pictures of the plants in my yard (for another post another day).
take the pot out of the oven. Mix the sour cream and 1/2 tablespoon of paprika in a small bowl. Remove the chicken from the pot and plate it up. Stir a few tablespoons of the sauce into the sour cream mixture, and then stir this mixture back into the pot. Spoon the sauce over chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
I decided to make it with a side of plain couscous because i’m growing weary of rice. We’ve eaten rice with almost every dinner for the past few months, and i’m getting riced out. Besides, i had some couscous handy. I tried to be all artistic with the couscous, scooping it into the middle of the shallow bowl i used to plate up, but couscous has a mind of its own and fell over. So be it. i also kind of went nuts with the parsley, but i think the green is pretty. Besides, at this point, it was close to 7:15 pm and i hadn’t eaten anything since lunch (11 am-ish) and all i wanted to do was eat. right. now.
What i’d do differently next time:
1. I’m not quite so sure couscous is the best accompaniment for this. It’s definitely more of a rice dish, and the happy folks at CI suggest egg noodles, but as i stated above, i’m a bit riced out these days.
2. When hauling chicken out of the pot, before you plate up, it really ought to be deboned at this time. I’d even shred it with my hands or a fork and put back into sauce after you’ve added the sour cream mixture. I didn’t much care for picking around the bone while i was eating. Yes, i was being lazy, because after the long day i’d had which started off stupidly enough (see previous entry) i only wanted to use one utensil at dinner, that being a fork.
3. I have a suspicion that this will be much better after having sat around in the fridge for a day or two. most stew-type things are.