If it is possible for a city to have a national dish, then chicken paprikash is the national dish of Cleveland. You will find it in diners, at church potlucks, on your grandmother’s table, even ladled over fries at a bar. In Cleveland, paprikash freed itself of its Eastern European origins and became an everyday dish for everyone.
Like most of the dishes you’ll find on this site, this isn’t an authentic Hungarian dish. It’s my take on the dish and flavors I grew up with. This isn’t Hungarian Paprikash. It’s Ohio Paprikash — and even then there are a number of different takes on it (including one that’s a lot more like a sheet pan chicken than a stew.)
Paprikash is a simple, hearty dish that can be ready in under an hour – and works winter or summer. And you can make When Harry Met Sally jokes about it. If you’re old and do things like that.
The dish is better with good quality hungarian paprika – available online or at better stores – but can be made with grocery store stuff if you’re scrimping. Good chicken stock will make all the difference and I strongly suggest using homemade.
Chicken PaprikashCourse: MainCuisine: American, Hungarian, ClevelandianDifficulty: Easy
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 cups light chicken stock
1 large onion, sliced thin
½ cup sour cream
3 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
- Easy Homemade Spätzle
2 cups AP flour
1½ cups water
1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat a lidded sauté pan over a medium flame.
- Season the thighs on both sides, brown the chicken slowly, rendering fat from the skin. Once the skin is well browned, remove chicken and set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the onions in the rendered chicken fat.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the paprika, salt, and pepper and sauté until it becomes fragrant and slightly sticky.
- Add the chicken stock to the pan.
- Return the chicken to the pan and simmer covered until it is nearly falling off the bone.
- Remove the chicken once again and stir sour cream into the pan over very low heat.
- Return the chicken to the pan to coat well with the sauce.
- Serve over noodles, spätzle, or if you are feeling daring, French fries.
- Homemade Spätzle
- Mix flour, salt, and water into a sticky dough.
- Allow to rest 30 minutes for the flour to hydrate.
- Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water.
- Working a little at a time, spread portions of the dough on the back of a large pancake turner, small cutting board, or other smooth, flat surface.
- Using the back of a knife or a cake froster, cut and flick thin pieces of dough into the boiling water. Cook until they begin to float, and remove with a spider or slotted spoon.
- To serve, reheat in boiling water, drain, and toss with butter and chopped parsley.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!