When my wife and I first started dating the very first meal she made for me was her Chicken Paprikash. Being of Hungarian descent (her Dad’s family escaped Hungary in the 1950’s) this was a dish she was very familiar with and felt confident serving to her chef boyfriend (me). Of course, I loved it (and would have never told her otherwise if I hadn’t) and it has been a staple in our house since then as we both consider this comfort food of the highest order. I mean, what’s not to love; chicken slowly simmered in a sauce of onions and paprika, all finished with a healthy (and when I say healthy I really mean unhealthy!) dose of sour cream and served over egg noodles or better yet thick, chewy homemade dumplings-another item my wife excels at!
Up until earlier this year, Paprikash always meant chicken, for us, but earlier this summer we had some pork that we needed to use up so my wife used that instead of the normal chicken. We fell in love with the dish all over again and now seem to make it more with pork than with chicken.
Like with many family recipes handed down from generation to generation, my wife learned how to cook this one by “eye.” Until today I don’t think she ever measured any of the ingredients that went into the pot. It was kind of eye opening to see how much onion and how much paprika this dish actually uses! Talking of paprika, this dish requires good, “fresh” paprika. If the stuff you have sitting in your cupboard is over 6 months old please trash it and buy new stuff for this recipe as it plays a significant role in not only coloring but flavoring the dish.
3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (or other tougher cut of pork)
6 cups onion, peeled and diced (small dice)
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 Tbl. salt
5 bay leaves
1/4 cup paprika
2 cups water
2 Tbl. corn starch
8oz sour cream
Dice pork into 1″ cubes. Heat a large pot over high heat and add the oil. Add pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from pot and add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes until starting to turn translucent. Return the pork to the pot and add the salt, bay leaves, paprika, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook at a slow simmer for about 3 hours or until the pork is tender and the onions have mostly disintegrated. Dissolve the corn starch in a bit of cold water and add, a bit at a time until thickened to your liking (it should be the consistency of a loose stew). Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Serve over egg noodles or homemade dumplings.