Magyar Paprika Chicken by Larry Andersen

Magyar Chicken

Paprika Spice

Most capsaicin peppers, including the paprika peppers, are not native to Europe and Asia. They are from the New World. They are among the treasures that Christopher Columbus brought back to Europe. The cultivation of the spice spread quickly and gardens across the Balkans grew the spice for the common man as well as the aristocracy. The Hungarians, the Magyar tribes from the Ural Mountains settled in the Carpathian Basin and quickly adopted the paprika pepper as their own and it became the national spice and an integral part of Hungarian dishes. The name paprika comes from the Magyar word for pepper, papar. "We believe Columbus's mission was a success because he came back to Europe with a marvelous spice," says Gyula Vegh, of the Szeged Paprika Museum, in southern Hungary. "He discovered America on the way." (Cited from CNN Travel)

Without the paprika and chili powder, the creamy chicken and noodles would be similar to ala king but I think the addition of the two additional spices takes you for a nice taste journey around the Balkans and through Hungary to meet the Magyars of Hungary.

Preparation: 1 hour Life Experience Recipe
Serves 4 to 6 persons depending on side dishes Source person
Ingredients:
  • Large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 1 pound
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • cup of milk with cup of water
  • cup green Bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon spicy paprika 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 16-ounces wide egg noodles, cooked al dente, or may use mashed potatoes or steamed rice
  • 2 (10 - ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, cooked and drained
  • cup red Bell pepper, julienned
  • teaspoon dried ground thyme
  • teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Procedure
  1. The night before cooking, or at least several hours before, prepare chicken. Butterfly, if necessary, to make pieces of even thickness for grilling. Season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Prepare noodles boiling in a large volume of salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse to remove surface starch. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and fluff with a spoon to prevent sticking and set aside.

  3. Grill chicken until nice and brown and cooked through - 170F for white meat (about 4 minutes per side) and 180F for dark meat - the chicken will be warmed in the sauce later but not cooked further. Set aside to cool for safe handling.
  4. Dice onion (here I have used a combination of red and yellow onion) and julienne the red and green Bell peppers.

  5. Cut the cooled chicken into bite sized pieces, chunks or strips per your preference. Set aside.
  6. Place in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a preheated frying pan and add the onions and peppers. Stir fry to sweat the vegetables but do not brown. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, basil and chili powder. Cook until the vegetables are just fork tender.

  7. Add the two cans of soup and the milk and water. Stir to mix well. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings to your preference. Add the diced, grilled chicken. Add the pre-cooked peas and carrots. Stir and mix well until heated through.

  8. Fluff the noodles to separate any clumps of noodles. Add the chicken mixture and fold and mix until well blended. It serves well as a single dish meal or as a part of the dinner entre. Add a dollop of sour cream for an additional layer of flavor.

Recipes evolve. My recipe for Magyar chicken has gone through several changes over the years. For example, instead of dicing and pan frying the chicken I now season and grill the chicken to add an outdoor cooked essence to the dish. If you are curious about the original incarnation you can find the original version here.

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Latest revision done September 2017
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