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Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (Paprikás Csirke)
1 hour 40 minutes 25 minutes active
Our version of paprikás csirke, or chicken paprikash, blends techniques from restaurant chefs and home cooks who taught us their recipes during our visit to Budapest, Hungary. We learned that in addition to a generous amount of onion, sautéed until sweet and softened to create a flavor base, there are a couple other keys to achieving fullness and complexity in the iconic dish. Paprika (both sweet and hot) is, of course, a defining ingredient in the dish—one that adds a touch of heat, a rusty hue and thickening power to boot—but multiple forms of capsicums, or peppers, are essential for depth and range of flavor. To that end, we include jarred roasted red peppers, blended to a smooth puree, to bring a silky sweetness, plus a fresh banana (or wax) pepper, finely chopped, for tangy, fruity notes. Additionally, the freshness of the paprika is important. If yours has been in the pantry for a while and has lost its verve (it should be bright red, not dull brown, and full of fragrance), it won’t deliver. Seek out fresh, quality paprika, and in particular look for brands produced in Hungary. With a lush, velvety sauce, paprikash traditionally is served with homemade dumplings called nokedli and a tangy-creamy cucumber salad called uborka saláta that brings brightness and texture.
cup drained jarred roasted red peppers
tablespoons lemon juice, divided