Tonight I pulled out the old, deep frying pan used by my grandmother who gave to my mother who gave it to me. It's the first time I've used this pan. I wanted to honor our Hungarian and Russian heritage, so I made chicken paprika.
I modified a recipe from The World's Finest Chicken by Sonia Slyer and Janice Metcalfe. It's a nice cookbook, with easy recipes using stuff you'd generally have on hand, making very tasty food. Being who I am (and really, any decent home cook does this) I tweaked the recipe.
- Saute one large, chopped onion in olive oil. As I poured the oil in I couldn't help but wonder if my grandmother used anything other than schmaltz and Crisco.
- As the onion softened I added two heaping tablespoons of smoked paprika. Next time I will use more. I roasted the spice well, until the pan was almost smoking, then I added one large, roughly chopped green pepper.
- As the pepper began to soften I added three seeded, chopped tomatoes, about a teaspoon of marjoram, a bunch of freshly ground black pepper, two crushed veg boullion cubes (per the recipe), eight skinless chicken thighs with bone still in and then dumped a cup of water over the mess.
- It came to a boil, I lowered to a simmer, gave it a stir, covered and let it cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken was meltingly tender. I let it cook for about 10 minutes uncovered so the sauce could thicken.
It was very good, though next time I will add a third tablespoon of spicy paprika and perhaps another boullion cube. Or maybe I'll just use stock instead of water. I didn't bother with the recommended sour cream as I had none in the house. If I'd had plain yogurt that would have been a fine substitution.
As I cooked and later, as we ate, I imagined my grandmother cooking something similar, her cheeks red from the steam, and I welcomed her into my new kitchen in this old house. I think she would have been pleased. I know I certainly was.
(c) 2013 Laura S. Packer