Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Comfort Food

Some of my friends have asked why I haven't posted many baked goods, and, admittedly, that is what I love to make.  My waistline, however, doesn't appreciate all the yumminess.  I have a problem with self control and eating delicious food.  Yet, I'm writing a food blog.  Go figure.

I promise I will do more of the baking stuff, and have actually done quite a bit of baking this past week (scones, cinnamon rolls, pie). Just not anything original.  So, I really will get more baking posts on here, but in the mean time, I wanted to post a recipe that is one of my favorites.  I grew up on goulash (and soon I'll make my grandma's recipe for hamburger goulash), and it's one of my favorite comfort foods.  What, exactly, is goulash?  Honestly, I'm not sure what the technical definition is, but when I was growing up, it meant something warm and comforting, with meat, onions, mushrooms, sometimes tomatoes, lots of paprika in a wonderful broth that was perfect for sopping up with bread or scooping with noodles or soaking in to buttery mashed potatoes. This recipe is for a sort of chicken goulash/chicken paprika hybrid and it's something I made up, with a nod to my eastern European heritage. I just estimated the spices, so feel free to play with that, depending on your taste preferences.

While you can probably make this without the smoked paprika, I wouldn't recommend it. Smoked paprika gives a nice smokiness and depth to the dish without adding heat.  Also, you can do this without the white wine, just use more chicken broth.

Chicken Paprika Goulash

3 boneless chicken breasts (about 1.5-2 lbs), cut into 1/2 in strips
2 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper
2 large or 3 medium onions, peeled
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup white wine
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 lemon
Wide Egg Noodles, cooked (or mashed potatoes)
Sour Cream (optional)

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken strips with salt and pepper, then brown chicken strips in oil (should take about 5 minutes). Remove browned chicken strips and set aside. Turn heat down to medium, and in the same pan, add the onions and cook until starting to soften.  Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms start to release their water (about 2-3 minutes).  Sprinkle both paprikas over the onion/mushroom mixture and cook until the paprika is a deep red color, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 c. white wine to pan and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add chicken back to pan, along with any accumulated juices on the plate/bowl, plus 2/3 cup chicken broth (you can just eyeball it -- the liquid should not quite cover everything in the pan).  Cover and simmer approximately 8 minutes to cook chicken through.  Take 2 Tbsp of the cooking liquid out of the pan and put it in a small cup, let cool slightly -- it should only take a minute or so. Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch to the reserved cooking liquid, stir until smooth, then add back into pan with chicken and veggies. Cook for a minute or two to thicken. Remove from heat, squeeze the lemon over the chicken.  Serve over cooked wide egg noodles or mashed potatoes. I like to add a dollop of sour cream on my goulash, but the rest of my family doesn't.  I love the added creaminess, but do whatever you like.

Serves 4

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