Saturday, November 26, 2011


I consider chicken paprikas, mashed potatoes, and cucumber salad to be the essential meal served by my mother-in-law.  This is certainly not the collective opinion of Hungarians, nor Transylvanians.  It is not even the consensus of the immediate family.  Perhaps it was the first meal she served me in her home.  For whatever reason these three dishes strike all the right notes for me when I think of my inherited family traditions.

Today's cooking lesson was hardly a delight.  The kids came home, hungry, from Leo's first trip to a movie.  It was Iza's third viewing of Bogyo es Baboca.  We were cooking the paprikas not for today's lunch, but mainly to squeeze in one more lesson before Katalin returns to Csikszereda on Monday.  We will eat it for tomorrow's lunch.  Long story short, I mostly observed this recipe without doing the work.

1 medium onion, diced
2 peppers (hopefully the thin, yellow ones) sliced into inch long narrow strips
2 carrots, grated

Place these into a pan and add oil.  Cover and let soften.

2 small tomatoes (or 1 medium), sliced

Add tomatoes, cover.

1 table spoon sweet paprika.
1 kilo chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks

Add these to pot and let cook in own juices.

Add water to pot to just cover chicken.  Let cook.

1 to 1 1/2 table spoons salt

Add salt.

Make a thickener:

Stir together one yolk, 1 table spoon flour (or more), and a bit of milk.  Add more milk until you have about a coffee-cup-filled amount.  Add a bit of the hot broth to the mixture and stir.  Keep adding a bit at a time.  Then pour the thickener through a strainer (to remove lumps) into the entire pot.  Bring the pot back to a boil and then you are finished.  (By the way, Katalin adds the egg white to the broth and lets it cook.  Why waste it?)

As I mentioned, I prefer this dish served with mashed potatoes.  It can also be served with tiny dumplings or store-bought pasta (like farfalle).  I also think that cucumber salad makes the perfect side dish.

Save room for cake.

Before the thickener is added:

Finished product:

No comments: