This recipe comes from Therese Dieringer, one of our Hungarian Mothers of the Month. Chicken Paprikas and goulash are undoubtedly the two most popular dishes from Hungarian mothers, and each mother has her own way of doing things. When we have a M.O.M., I always watch her make the dish her way, and I only make changes that I think might improve the dish. Therese really knows her stuff, so there was nothing for us to do with this recipe but make it her way.
1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into eighths or 3 pounds chicken legs and thighs
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 large yellow onions, finely chopped (4 1/2 cups)
2 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1 1/2 cups fresh Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pound egg noodles, cooked, or 4 cups Spaetzle for serving
Arrange the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and season well with the salt and pepper. (I rub the seasoning into the chicken, something I learned from a former M.O.M., Beatriz de Proano.)
Place a large (8- to 10-quart) Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over high heat for several minutes. (The pan needs to be very hot so the chicken browns and sears instead of steams.) When hot, add the oil (heating the pan first keeps the oil from getting smoky while the pan heats), swirl the pan to coat, add the chicken in a single layer (skin side down first – that way the fat “melts” as it cooks and gives you a bit more sizzle in the pan), and brown on both sides (about 4 minutes per side), using tongs to turn the pieces. Transfer the chicken to a clean baking sheet or plate as the pieces finish browning and add more as room allows.
When all the chicken is cooked and removed from the pot, reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions. Saute, stirring frequently, until soft and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the paprika and stir well to combine.
Return the chicken to pot, pour the stock over it, and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Whisk together the flour and sour cream in a small bowl, and then stir into the pot. Mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon to incorporate the flour mixture. (It will look a little lumpy, so continue to stir as it simmers; the lumps should cook away.) Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.
Return chicken to the pot, turn to coat in the sauce, and simmer for about 1 minute, until heated through.
To serve, place noodles or spaetzle in serving dishes, ladle sauce over them, and arrange a couple of pieces of chicken on top.