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RECIPE: When Harry Met Sally chicken paprikash

Beautiful and delicious - Chicken Paprikash is a winner.
Beautiful and delicious - Chicken Paprikash is a winner.
Image Credit: Jay Lirag

“Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash” is a famous line spoken by Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan in the 1989 hit rom com When Harry Met Sally.

What the heck is paprikash? Since then, I was intrigued by this dish but unfortunately never had it…until now.

Chicken paprikash is absolutely delicious and an absolutely easy dish to make. The key to this classic Hungarian dish (we made it for one of our international theme Monday night dinners with the kids) is paprika. There is so much you need to know about this red spice – it is so not just to sprinkle on top of devilled eggs.

Paprika in its simplest form is made from grinding sweet pepper pods to create the iconic bright red powder. But depending on the variety of paprika, the color can range from a bright orange red to a deep blood red and the flavor can be anything from sweet and mild to bitter and hot.

Once you dive into the world of paprika you will find so many options. There is Hungarian and Spanish paprika, sweet, hot and smoked, an entire new world of flavours is waiting for you. Make sure that you seek out the real deal. I suggest Pride of Szeged Sweet Hungarian Style Paprika and for smoked, I always have a tin of each La Chinata hot and sweet.

There's a big difference between sweet, smoked, and hot paprika and if you want to learn more check out THIS ARTICLE

Make sure to serve your paprikash with noodles.
Make sure to serve your paprikash with noodles.

Don't skip the hot buttered egg noodles to serve. If you want to be authentic, make Nokedli. These fluffy Hungarian egg noodle dumplings are also often used in German cuisine as well where they are known as spaetzle. It is a simple dough that can be passed through a slotted spoon or colander or you can purchase a spaetzle maker. Enjoy!

WHMS Chicken Paprikash
Serves 4


8 skin on, bone in chicken thighs
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika (I mix 2 Tbsp sweet paprika with 1 Tbsp of hot smoked paprika)
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup canned, crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen fire roasted)
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of sour cream room temperature
Salt and pepper
Parsley, minced

1 package of extra broad egg noodles


Take chicken out of the fridge 45 minutes to an hour before you cook to bring closer to room temp.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp oil and T tbsp butter a high sided sauté pan with lid or Dutch-oven on medium high. When butter begins to foam, add chicken and sear skin-side down until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side and remove to a plate.

Drain pan leaving one tablespoon of the accumulated fat and reheat to medium.  Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes to soften, stirring and scraping the bottom with a flat-bottomed wooden spatula to deglaze the pot with the liquid that comes from the onions. Then add the garlic and stir, cooking 2 more minutes until it softens. Add the flour and the paprika, stir well and cook another 4 minutes.

Now add the tomatoes and broth and whisk until smooth.  Arrange the chicken skin side up in the pan. The tops will not be completely submerged in the sauce, cover and transfer to the oven for 45 minutes or 1 hour or until fork tender. Remove the chicken to another baking dish and turn oven on broil.

Turn up the heat on the sauce to medium and whisk in the sour cream to thoroughly combine and turn off heat.  Broil chicken for a couple of minutes to crisp the skin back up and add colour before nestling it back into the now creamy sauce for serving presentation.

While the chicken is in the oven, heat large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for 10 minutes (or according to package instructions).  Drain and toss in a bowl with the remaining butter.

Serve the chicken on top of the noodles, ladle the amazing sauce over all and finish with a sprinkling of parsley.

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