Chicken paprikash is the kind of dish that reveals itself immediately and inarguably as comfort food, even if you've never eaten it before in your life.
It's a classic Hungarian dish which features chicken, onions, broth, tomatoes (sometimes, not always) and of course copious amounts of paprika. I have been playing around with my tin of smoked paprika for quite a while now, and while I love the flavor, it can come on strong. So here I relied primarily on the typical sweet Hungarian paprika, then added a little bit of smoked to give it another level of flavor. You also could add a bit of hot paprika to give the dish a different kind of kick.
If you are the kind of person to make your own dumplings or noodles, this is a great moment to whip out that skill set. For the rest of us, and for a weeknight dinner, a bag of egg noodles fits the bill perfectly. You don't want to heat the sour cream in the sauce over the stove, or it might curdle. Just stir it into the pot at the very end and it will add a tangy-creamy note to the warm sauce.
Start to finish: 45 minutes
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 large yellow onions, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika (optional)
2 bay leaves
14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
16-ounce bag egg noodles
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a very large, deep heavy saute pan (such as cast-iron) over medium-high, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 4 minutes; it will not be cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate. It's fine if there are bits stuck to the pan.
Return the pan to medium heat and add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes, or until softened and moderately browned. Stir in the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir in the flour and both varieties of paprika, stirring for 1 minute, or until well mixed. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom to loosen any stuck bits.
Return the chicken to the pan, along with any juices on the plate. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and divide between serving plates. When the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and discard, then stir in the sour cream. Top each portion of noodles with chicken and sauce.
Nutrition information per serving: 520 calories; 140 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 245 mg cholesterol; 410 mg sodium; 49 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 44 g protein.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking.