Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken Paprikash

I've been reading and re-reading posts about food from my hometown. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and hometown recipes are as much of an ethnic melting pot there as they are in many areas of the US. Today's recipe is of Hungarian origin, and I remember a Hungarian family who lived two doors down from my home. Savory smells wafted from their windows, and the smells of this dish take me right back to warm, childhood memories. It's no coincidence that my husband is also of Hungarian origin, so when he smelled then tasted this, he proclaimed we should have it again, and often! It reminded him of his grandmother's cooking.

I've lightened this recipe somewhat, I'm sure that's no surprise to you. Originally, this recipe calls for lots of sour cream, with almost no vegetables. The original would fill the stomachs of hardworking men returning from a day in the fields of Hungary, or their hardworking sons returning from a day in the steelmills of Detroit. My recipe fills the hardworking men and women who've labored at either a desk or physical labor, but my thinking is that we don't need nearly as many calories as our forebears may have needed, and that the calories we do need don't need as many saturated fats. This recipe is somewhat lighter in calories as well as saturated fats. I've also added more vegetables for their fiber and nutrients, and have paired this with a whole grain and a green vegetable. Enjoy!


2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1 12 oz. can stewed tomatoes, drained (save the juice) and chopped
1 Tbs. sweet paprika
1 tsp. hot paprika (optional)
6 oz. Greek yogurt, plain or honey flavored
salt and pepper to taste
Serve with brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta cooked as directed

Directions: Swirl 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet to coat. Place the skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until the chicken loses it's pink color. Remove chicken to a plate, and set aside. Add the second teaspoon of the oil, then add the onion, pepper and fennel and cook about 5 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the stewed tomatoes and cook until heated through. Return the chicken to the pan, along with the paprika. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. Add some of the tomato juice from the stewed tomatoes if the pan gets too dry. You don't want the dish to stick, but rather to have it like a very thick stew. Test the chicken by cutting one of the larger pieces in half. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the yogurt, stirring to incorporate. Taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary. Serve either alone or with a whole grain, such as brown rice, quinoa, or a whole grain pasta.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Serve this dish with a deep green vegetable. Adding the green vegetable increases the color spectrum on your plate. The whole meal will look more appealing, visually. In addition to the increased visual appeal, you'll be increasing the spectrum of nutrients that you eat. Green vegetables are higher in some nutrients, while red vegetables are higher in others. I believe (and science seems to back this up) that you can boost your health by eating across the spectrum, rather than staying in simply one range. You can see that I served this with broccoli, but anything green will work just fine.

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