Monday, July 17, 2006

The Bon Appétit Cookbook: Paprikás Csirke (Hungarian Paprika Chicken) and Spätzle (German Egg Noodles)

I loved Hungary. Absolutely loved it. It's charming and modern and ancient and romantic. I only spent two days there, but it was enough. I hope to go back again. But until I can, I have pictures and memories.

One of the nights in Budapest, I went with several friends to an amazing restaurant called Sorforras. The food and the atmosphere were equally amazing. I remember that the dish I ordered was an amazing take on the traditional chicken paprikas, but I believe they had named it Empress Chicken after Empress Sissy.

I have always hoped to find some sort of recipe for the dish I had that night, but my memory is getting a little difficult to resurrect, so it's now or never.

Paprikás Csirke (Hungarian Paprika Chicken)
Loosely adapted from The Bon Appétit Cookbook

1 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as porcini or chanterelle
2 cups warm water
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1½ ounces rendered duck fat or unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
5 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 cup sour cream

In a medium bowl, add warm water to dried mushrooms, and allow to sit for at least twenty minutes.
Cut each chicken breast width-wise into angled slices. Heat half of rendered fat in a large frying pan and add chicken. Brown on both sides until light golden. Remove to separate platter. Chicken may need to be browned in two batches. Add remaining fat, shallots, and all mushrooms. When onions and mushrooms are slightly limp and browning, add chicken back in, along with paprika and chicken broth. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until sauce is reduced by at least half. Add sour cream and heat through. Serve over egg dumplings, spätzle, or pasta.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Spätzle (German Egg Noodles)

1 cup flour
2 large eggs
½ cup of cold water
Dash of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients.  Push the dough through a spätzle maker into boiling salted water. The spätzle are ready when they pop to the surface.

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