Keto Chicken Paprikash
Keto Chicken Paprikash
What is Keto Chicken Paprikash?
Chicken Paprikash or Paprika Chicken is a dish that has it’s origins in Eastern Europe. Hungary lays claim to the dish although versions are also made in the Czech Republic and elsewhere. This dish is famous for the massive amounts of paprika used. Most variations share the use of onions, butter, lard, sour cream and garlic. Occasionally you might see someone add some tomato or peppers to the dish. Nana never did that, and it would only add carbs, so we’re not going to do that either.
This keto chicken paprikash is a recipe that’s close to my heart. As a child, I spent a lot of time around my Grandmother. My mom’s mom was a mix of Hungarian and Slovak and her kitchen reflected that every day. The smells of frying onions, garlic, paprika, and cabbage were never far off. Although the significance of my time there and the flavors I experienced didn’t dawn on me at the time but I can now resolutely say that it shaped my character and my approach to cooking. You always hear the saying that grandmothers make the best food and I believe the reason for that is twofold. First, they’ve had a lifetime of experience making these dishes. The second reason is that many families in the USA only go back a couple generations. Mine is no different. It’s through grandma’s old world cooking that you get to taste a link to your families past and get a real sense of yourself in the process. It’s that connection that I also think is important to keep alive, especially in your kitchen. Food is very much culture. So whether it’s Slovak, Italian, Chinese or whatever don’t forget to throw some of grandma’s dishes into the mix. You’ll be making her proud. I think this chicken paprikash would make her proud.
Kure Na Paprice or Paprikás Csirke?
It only just occurred to me while writing this that my Grandmother was half Hungarian half Slovak. Ok ok, her ethnicity isn’t what just occurred to me but rather, I’m not sure if she was making the Hungarian or Slovak version or some mix of the two. Hold on one minute…..
Ok, after 45 minutes of looking at various recipes across the wide interwebs both versions seem to be essentially the same. So, whether you want to call it Kure Na Paprice, Paprikás Csirke or Chicken Paprikash, you’ll be A-Okay!
Not your Grandmas Chicken Paprikash
As much as I love the traditional ways in which a lot of those Eastern European foods were prepared I almost always make them differently. I use her recipes and the flavors I remember as a jumping off point. I’m the type of person who always has to tweak things and am never 100% satisfied with the dish. To me, it could always be just a pinch better. So, this is not my Nana’s chicken paprikash. Her’s was the starting point. I’ve played with this recipe for a long time and recently I have a version which I think is worthy of sharing. I just want to make it clear that this is not completely traditional chicken paprikash. I will have to make the same statement on the cabbage rolls, Hungarian stew and other such recipes in the pipeline.
This Chicken Paprikash vs. Traditional
If you want to make this the traditional Slovak grandmother way, it’s not that different. There are 2 main differences between the two recipes. The first is in technique. Traditionally you don’t sear the top of the chicken thighs. Instead, the chicken cooks in the sauce the entire time. It’s more like a stew. When you do it this way you don’t need to add the gelatin packet because the chicken will release more of its natural gelatin and juice into the sauce. When you sear the chicken thigh, however, you develop a very nice flavor and crispiness of the chicken skin as well as the fond that is stuck to the pan before deglazing. It’s a bit of a more complex developed flavor. The same is also true of adding the spices to the hot pan before the liquid to toast them a little.
The other large veer off from the traditional recipe is the makeup of the spice mix, along with a few add-on ingredients. Instead of the blend of different paprikas and cayenne pepper, traditionally you would just use a lot of fresh Hungarian paprika. The mix I developed here was an attempt to coax a flavor out of the dish that is deeper, along with some added spiciness. The lemon and the white wine adds a bit of bright freshness that finishes the dish off beautifully and really brings out the flavors of all the other ingredients.
The changes to the recipe produce a more robust, deep and complex flavor. I love both versions of this dish. I just love my version a little more. It’s the difference between saying, “damn that’s good,” and not stopping eating long enough to utter a word. Regardless, I think Nana would be proud.
Quality Hungarian Paprika
Not all paprikas are created equal. Your average supermarket paprika typically is lacking in the flavor department. Paprika loses its potency remarkably fast, so if you can make it yourself, that’s ideal. Here are two links to making your own paprika: link 1 and link 2. Between the two you’ll have enough knowledge to pull it off until I do a write up on it. If you don’t have the time you’ll want to shoot for a high-quality Hungarian paprika. With paprika being the main spice in this dish you will definitely notice if the paprika isn’t great. Penzey’s is a highly regarded Hungarian Paprika with a link to buy some here.
For another great European recipes give our German Jägerschnitzel a try! You won’t be disappointed!