Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: STEW (11/26/15)
- TITLE: Stewing Chickens Do Not A Proper Paprikash Make
By Judith Gayle Smith
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Buoyed with the knowledge that she faithfully and unhealthily simmered spaghetti sauce for two days in a cast iron pot, and that most of her cooking consisted of what Mike termed "mundane casseroles," I, a brand-spanking new bride offered my proudest dish to my highly skeptical competitive Mother-in-Law:a Chicken Paprikash.
My Hungarian/Slovakian Gram Hruska made this tantalizing dish as a staple of her incredible food offerings at least once a week. As a child, I admittedly lusted for this feed, and still do. This dish contributed greatly to my inability to stay away from rich fatty sauces, and the carbohydrates attributed to the chewy egg dumplings . . .
I digress . . .
Chicken Paprikash - the National Dish of Austria, aka manna. This dish is prepared by simmering sweet white onions in fresh creamery butter (no substitute) until transparent, then adding a copious amount of Sweet Hungarian Paprika (again, no substitute) and chicken broth most generously.
Adding the plumpest roaster/fryer cutup skin-on chicken to the sweet butter, onions, chicken broth, sweet paprika, simmering covered for over an hour, produces incredibly rich aromas and meat falling off the bones.
While waiting for the chicken to yield to the mysteries of the covered pan, I boil chicken broth in a soup kettle. While awaiting the boil, I make a batter for chewy egg dumplings. Dropping the batter by half teaspoons into the fragrant bubbling broth, waiting for each finger-like dumpling to rise, my stomach dances somersaults in anticipation.
Keeping the dumplings warm, removing the chicken from the pan, it is time to prepare the thickest sour cream sauce to be poured over all this yum.
So, the above is the ideal way to prepare this ideal dish.
We went grocery shopping, my brand new Mother-in-Law and me. Could not find Sweet Hungarian Paprika. She suggested the paprika in her cupboard. Spanish. Disaster strikes again - no plump roasting/fryer chicken to be found - only scrawny stewing hens. And she adamantly insisted that margarine was just as good as butter, and cheaper. Oh, and I was so flustered I forgot to get chicken broth.
Creating a sadly lacking flavor and stringy unsuitable Chicken Paprikash, with margarine, not butter and no chicken broth, produced just what my Mother-in-Law hoped for. Proof that my hubby could not possibly be fed better by me than by her.
I, albeit ungraciously, let her win the Great War. After all, I won her handsome and very intelligent son.
Discouraged, self-esteem saved for many years later, I good-naturedly suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous paprikash from my new family. I admit though - being all too human, I did stew over this Great War of the Casseroles until she passed away, still chuckling over what a poor cook her sweet little boy had to endure.
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