Chicken Paprikash, for freezing

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (yum!) or or olive oil

  • 3 pounds chicken parts (thighs and/or breasts)

  • 2 medium onions

  • ½ bell pepper (optional)

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons flour

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons paprika

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 6 cups water or chicken stock

  • 8 ounces sour cream OR

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup and 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 12 ounces egg noodles

  • parsley, minced for garnishment

The chicken that you choose depends on how you want to serve it, if you want all white meat or prefer the juicy, tasty thighs; if you want to serve chicken pieces or if you want all the meat removed from the bone.  In other words, you have choices here, and they will all taste great.

The process:

The Browning:

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan or kettle.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces.  Brown chicken pieces, turning to brown on all sides.  Not too brown, this isn’t Cajun Smothered Chicken (a very close relative).  If you are cooking a large batch, do the browning in batches and transfer to a platter.

To make for serving now:

When all the chicken is seared, remove the pieces to a platter.   Now, it’s time to smother the onions.  You may need to add a little bit more oil, maybe not.  When the onions are translucent, add 2 to 4 tablespoons flour and the 1 to 3 tablespoons paprika.  Use a whisk to incorporate all.  Add 3 cups of the water and/or stock, and use the whisk to mix well.  When all is mixed well, let return to a gentle boil over medium heat.  If it thickens too much (your preference), add more stock or water.  I used right at 6 cups of stock and water, about half of each.  After simmering for a while, the sauce would reduce, so, a little more liquid would be added.  I placed the chicken parts back into the sauce and let simmer for  a while (about 30 minutes), and then removed then again to let cool and pull the meat from the bones.  Once all the meat is off the bones, and the sauce is the thickness you are happy with, add the meat back to the sauce.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve over egg noodles or rice.  Garnish with sour cream, minced parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.

To make for freezing:

When all the chicken is seared, remove the pieces to a platter.   Now, it’s time to smother the onions.  You may need to add a little bit more oil, maybe not.  When the onions are translucent, add 2 to 4 tablespoons flour and the 1 to 3 tablespoons paprika.  Use a whisk to incorporate all.  Add 3 cups of the water and/or stock, and use the whisk to mix well.  When all is mixed well, let return to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Add 2 to 4 ounces cream cheese, and one can of cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, undiluted.  Bring to a simmer.   If it thickens too much (your preference), add more stock or water.  I used right at 6 cups of stock and water, about half of each.  After simmering for a while, the sauce would reduce, so, a little more liquid would be added.  I placed the chicken parts back into the sauce and let simmer for  a while (about 30 minutes), and then removed then again to let cool and pull the meat from the bones.  Once all the meat is off the bones, and the sauce is the thickness you are happy with, add the meat back to the sauce.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Cook a bag of egg noodles according to package directions.  Place enough noodles on the bottom of your freezer dish, and top with the sauce and chicken.  Make sure that the noodles are covered in the sauce.  Top with container lid and place in freezer.  To reheat:  Thaw in fridge overnight, and reheat in microwave ( in microwave safe dish) or oven (in oven safe dish).

Enjoy!

Discourse on choosing Paprika:

There are many different types of paprika, as there are many different types of peppers.  Hungarian Sweet Paprika would be a great choice, Smoked Paprika would be a great choice, too; If you like a little heat (or a lot) you can always use some Hot Paprika.  If you’re not sure how you feel about paprika, start with a good quality Hungarian Sweet Paprika, and then experiment with others.  Most of your better grocery stores, and certainly the high-end ones, will carry several good choices.  I’ve also had good luck at some of the small, locally-owned grocery stores which tend to cater to their customers.  Depending on the heritage of the neighborhood, you might luck out and found a neighborhood store that caters to the neighborhood.  Any neighborhood with a high European ancestry – French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Hungarian, etc., are likely to have some great choices.  Or you can always order online. A few years ago I set out to acquire some different varieties and found some great imports at a local grocery store which caters to an Italian neighborhood, a wine store with a variety of imported dry goods, and a chain of stores called Fresh Market, which has a very good selection of upscale herbs and spices.

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Farmer’s Market Find: Red Russian Kale and Spinach Pie

 

Red Russian Kale

Red Russian Kale

 

A beautiful kale.  At first I thought it was arugula, but they said, no, it’s kale.  Throughout all the different vendors last saturday, there were about 5 different types of kale available.  This was the one I bought.

It had a little peppery bite, like arugula.

For $2.00, you can buy one bunch of kale.   Great deal.  When I got home and washed the kale, I was pretty surprised at how much kale was actually rubber banded together; about 2 to 3 times the amount of what you would get in the store.

I have a lot of soups in the freezer, so I was looking for something else to do with the kale, and thought about Spanakopita.  I haven’t made these in years,  but there are a real treat, and one of my husbands favorite.

A delicious Mediterranean treat.

I followed a traditional spanakopita recipe.  The only hitch was that when I pulled the box of filo dough out of the freezer to thaw, it wasn’t filo, but puff pastry.  I went ahead and went with it, how bad could it be?  Also, it saved me the stress of working with the filo dough.

I used 3 different types of cheese here:  a pecorino pepato, a very mild sheep’s milk feta, and the every rich fontina.

You will need:

  • 4 cups well washed, drained, and coarsely chopped kale
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen, chopped spinach (or one large  box fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 6 green onions (or 1 or 2 farmer market green onions)
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 cup other cheeses, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • juice of half a lemon
  • egg wash- 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water, well beaten

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Saute minced white onion in oil and butter in skillet.  When translucent, add green onions.  Add kale and spinach, and stir from bottom up till cooked down.  Do not overcook the spinach.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Add cheeses, nutmet, one egg, and lemon juice, and mix well.

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Cut dough in approximately 3 to 4 inch squares.  Place a few tablespoons filling in the center.  Brush edges with egg wash, and seal.  Follow directions on pastry package for baking.  I baked mine at 375 in a convection oven for about 15 minutes.

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I tried different shapes, and they all worked fine.  On some, I had to use a fork to seal the edges because I had put too much egg wash.

Also, these freeze well unbaked.  Freeze on wax paper or parchment lined cookie sheets, then transfer to a container, using the paper to separate the layers.

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Lemony Green Lentil and Arborio Rice Soup

One can never have too many versions of lentil soup.  Here’s one that will brighten a chilly day. I started this in the stove to saute the onions, then transferred it to the slow cooker and let it cook for … Continue reading