Chicken Paprika for a Crowd

by Hallie Ephron
Print Email

halliechickenI've had plenty of disasters in the kitchen. I once dropped a duck on the floor on the way to the table. And more than once I've nearly flambéed my kitchen. I've learned the hard way not to start sipping my white wine before the main course is cooked and ready to plate. But I'm particularly challenged when I'm cooking for more than 6.

Recently I hosted a meeting at my house, cooking for 15 people. Playing it safe, I made my go-to dish for a crowd: chicken paprika.

I made a vat of it the day before. It tasted delicious. I put it in the refrigerator, and the next evening, an hour before serving, I put it in the oven. When I pulled it out, it was barely warm. Meanwhile I'd started boiling the noodles (you get where this is going?)

So I set the pot of chicken paprika on the stove and turned on the burner...high. Fifteen minutes later the noodles are of course overcooked and the paprikash is boiling and, ominously, sticking to the bottom of the pot.

"Wow," my guests proclaim as they dig in, "this has such an interesting smoky taste." I try to blame it on the "smoked paprika" which I really did use. But I know the truth. It's burned, not smoky. On top of that I made roughly enough overcooked noodles to serve 50 people.

chickenpaprikashLeftovers? There were none, because I dumped it all in the trash (when my husband wasn't looking.)

It's not the first time crowd cooking has led to disaster. "What's that nice crunch?" a friend had asked of the arroz con pollo I'd prepared for a party. Uncooked rice.

Why is it, for someone who effortlessly turns out delicious meals for 4 or 6 guests, it's so dicey to cook for a few more?

So here's my paprika chicken recipe for 4. I dare you to double it.

 

 

 

Chicken Paprika (serves 4)

2 1/2 or so pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
Flour
2-3 Tablespoons of paprika (Hungarian sweet or smoked)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large chopped onion
3 seeded chopped plum tomatoes (you can use canned)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup (or more!) sour cream
1 pound of quartered fresh mushrooms
Salt & Pepper

1. Cut up each chicken thigh into 3 pieces (remove fat); dredge them in flour.

2. Heat butter and oil until butter stops spitting; quickly sautee chicken pieces about 4 minutes each in hot fat (will take several rounds) until nicely browned. Remove from pan.

3. Toss the chopped onion into the fat remaining and sautee until just translucent; add tomatoes and paprika and cook low/medium another 2 minutes.

4. Add stock and simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly thick.

5. Add the chicken back in.

6. Cover and simmer another 40 minutes in all -- after 20 minutes throw in the mushroom quarters, stir, cover, and continue cooking.

7. With heat low, add sour cream and stir until just heated through. Season to taste.

8. Serve with flat egg noodles and extra sour cream. 

 

Hallie Ephron  writes suspense novels she hopes keep readers up nights. A three-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark award, Hallie made a splash with “Never Tell a Lie.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it “stunning” and a “deliciously creepy tale of obsession.” It was adapted for film as “And Baby Will Fall” for the Lifetime Movie Network.

Originally published on Mystery Lovers Kitchen

Comments   

0 #1 Fredde Duke 2014-05-12 14:25
Hahahahaha!!!!! !!!!! I am SO with you on this. I can cook for two people -- but barely. Then I serve that meal to four people who remain hungry. It's often burned or ruined somehow. Thank you for being a twin and so honest about this! I'm Hungarian and my father LOVED this dish so I might try it. Might being the operative word.
Thank you!!
Fredde
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

The Dream Away Lodge
New England
by Michael Tucker

dream-awayWhy did I love our dinner at this place so much? Could it be that The Dream Away Lodge is rumored to have been a brothel during the Depression years, which speaks of a rich history of satisfying...

Read more...
Dorchester: 224 Boston Street
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

224 3Last year Boston Magazine named owner Kevin Tyo's 224 Boston Street: "Best Dorchester restaurant, neighborhood casual." Sadly, their website doesn't say when they opened. It's got to be 20 years...

Read more...
Milo & Olive
Los Angeles
by David Latt

milologo.jpgHuckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery and Rustic Canyon touched a foodie sweet spot with locals in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. Husband and wife co-owners, Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan proved again...

Read more...
Capizzi
New York
by Michael Tucker

capizzi.jpgI’ve been in rehearsal this week for a reading we’re doing on Friday. It’s a fun piece called “Old Jews Telling Jokes” based on the website of the same name. All this is to say that this week I’m...

Read more...