Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), by Jennifer Brule features classic recipes that can be prepared 3 different ways. In the following recipes, readers are encouraged to learn the basics of cooking, and then expand on them by using contemporary and international inspiration through ingredients or cooking techniques to make variations on the classic recipes.
This thick, brick-red stew with all its gorgeous chicken fragrance and flavor is something I dream about. I can’t go more than a couple of weeks without making it.
Paprika was one of those spices that I didn’t really know what to do with until I was well into my thirties. Before that time, I regarded paprika (also known as paprikash) as nothing more than an adornment to deviled eggs or maybe cream of potato soup — a contrasting color, not a flavor.
My ideas about paprikash changed when we lived in Europe. In the Czech Republic, I tasted authentic Goulash for the first time and marveled at the rich, red stew with its comforting but not altogether familiar flavors. In Hungary, I became addicted to Chicken Paprikash; it’s the perfect balance of umami and pleasing sour notes (from the sour cream).Paprika imparts a fabulous, distinct flavor to both of these dishes. In the United States, paprika comes in three distinct types: sweet, hot, and smoked. I keep a small tin of each in my spice cupboard and use them regularly. Make sure to use a fresh tin of paprika. Hungarian paprika is considered the most pungent.
- 1 (3–4 pound) chicken
- 8 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 cups crushed (unseasoned) tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- Remove the chicken from its packaging. If a bag of giblets and neck is inside the bird, take it out and discard it or freeze it for making gravy. Don’t rinse the bird; just snip off the trussing string from around the legs and the wings and place the chicken in a deep 8-quart pot (a stockpot or pasta pot works great).
- Add the celery and onion to the pot and pour in the chicken broth, making sure that the chicken and vegetables are covered; if necessary, add enough water to cover them.
- Cover the pot and set over medium-high heat. Bring the liquid just to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to medium or medium-low and crack the lid of the pot. You want to keep the broth gently simmering, with constant bubbles but no vigorous bubbling. Simmer for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set it in a bowl to cool. Scoop out 1 cup of the broth and set it in the refrigerator to cool completely. Fish out the onions and celery with a slotted spoon and discard. Leave the broth in the pot at room temperature for up to 1 hour while you make the dumplings.
- Once the broth in the refrigerator is cool, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, then gradually add the broth, mixing with your hands. You may only need 3/4 cup of the broth, so don’t add it all in one go. Add just enough broth to form a stiff dough.
- Knead the dough in the bowl until relatively smooth (it will be somewhat dimply, not perfectly smooth). Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside.
- Pull the chicken off the bones, discarding the bones and skin, and chop it or shred it by hand. Keep the meat in a large bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Lightly flour a clean, dry surface (a countertop or kitchen table works great). Place the dough on the floured surface and lightly flour the top of the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, then roll the disk with a rolling pin, pressing down as you roll, until the dough is about 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick (the thickness of pie dough). Using either a pizza cutter or a table knife, cut the dough into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip into 2-inch-long pieces.
- Bring the broth to a strong simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the crushed tomatoes, paprika, salt, and flour and stir until there are no lumps of flour. Pour this mixture into the simmering broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir every few minutes. The stew should bubble but not boil. Cook for 10–20 minutes.
- Add the dumplings, one at a time, to the simmering stew. Do not stir. Adjust the heat to keep the stew at a constant simmer (but don’t let it boil), and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until the dumplings have expanded in size and are soft. Remove the stew from the heat and stir in the sour cream, followed by the shredded chicken. Serve at once.
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From Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways: Traditional, Contemporary, International by Jennifer Brulé. Copyright © 2016 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher.