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Hungarian Paprika Chicken Recipe Needs Help!

Last night, I made hungarian paprika chicken in the crockpot. Although it was okay, it was not nearly as flavorful as I had hoped...the sauce was sort of bland. I don't have the recipe in front of me, but here's an idea of how I cooked it. Maybe someone can help me out or suggest a better recipe with more flavor to the sauce.

5 chicken breasts (bone & skin included) (We don't like dark meat)
4 Tablespoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground chipote powder
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup lite sour cream
2 Tablespoons flour
Olive Oil
black pepper

First, I sauteed the onion and garlic in oil until translucent, then mixed in the paprika and chipote powder and stirred it well, cooking for just a few minutes. In another pan, I put some more olive oil, sprinkled the chicken with the seasoned salt, and browned the chicken for a few minutes. Then, I put everything in the crockpot, and I cooked it on high for about 4 hours. Just before serving, I mixed the flour with the sour cream, and mixed in with the juices to make the sauce.

I'm not looking to make the dish spicier...just more flavorful, since for some reason the sauce didn't seem to have a lot of taste.


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  1. 4 tbsp of paprika should have given you a lot of flavor, and blooming the spice in the oil is certainly the way to go. Maybe you need a fresh batch? Did you taste the sauce before mixing in the sour cream? The sour cream mellows it quite a bit. I usually use 2 parts sweet paprika to 1 part hot paprika.

    I prefer to use water or broth and just a touch of tomato paste instead of a can of crushed tomatoes, to get more paprika flavor and less tomato.

    1. I recently tried a new recipe that was very much like this, but included broth and a can of pumpkin. (No tomatoes) It was very, very good. Not overtly pumpkin-y, just with great flavor. I also put caraway seeds and thyme in at the end, with the sour cream.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Glencora

        Glencora that sounds so yummy. Where can I find the recipe?

      2. Just my thinking, but I don't see the need for a crockpot. With white meat this dish could be 30 minutes on the stove. Hack the chicken into smaller pieces. Sauce will penetrate meat better. Browning white meat tends to just make it seize up. Follow your first steps except add the flour then to make a kind of roux. "Deglaze" with the crushed tomatoes. For a quick one I find you get better flavor with tomato paste. Add that to the pan after the flour has had time to cook off its rawness. Let paste work its way into the mix and then deglaze with water. Start with just enough to get everything worked together and unstuck from pan. Then add chicken in. Add liquid to half cover chicken and simmer till chicken is done. Take some of the liquid out to temper with the sour cream and stir the mixture back in. Uncover pan to reduce excess liquid or add more as needed before the sour cream step. Especially with just breast meat, you may want to use broth in stead of water or even a little bouillon powder or mushroom powder to boost the taste. Roughly minced flat leaf parsley added when plating brightens the flavor as well.

        3 Replies
        1. re: torty

          Thanks for the suggestion to cook on the stove rather than using the crockpot. Actually, the recipe called for cooking on the stove...however, I don't have a dutch oven or large enough pan to cook it in on the stove, so that's the only reason I used the crockpot. Geez...I have 3 large stock/soup pots, and lots of casserole dishes, but no dutch oven. Maybe that will go on my Christmas list!

          1. re: ctflowers

            "Maybe"!! I would say definitely. Will so expand your menus. I'll put in a word with Santa.

            1. re: ctflowers

              You have three large soup/stock pots? You don't need a dutch oven!

          2. The recipe in the (newer) Joy of Cooking is similar, but no tomatoes, and 3 cups of chopped onion. Did you fiddle with the amount of salt? Many recipes end with a 'season to taste' line. Also, what is the quality and freshness of your paprika? Mine is a bit old, but I keep it in the fridge. As I understand the dish, paprika and onion should be the dominant flavors.


            1. Easy- more salt. With all those ingredients, and only 1 tsp of salt? In my opinion, the #1 mistake made by home chefs- too little salt. Salt makes everything pop.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cheesemonger

                I second that! You just need more salt to bring out the flavor.

              2. Perhaps the problem was too much liquid. With 15 oz of tomatoes, your chicken basically poached -- rather than rendering in the spices and fat. Try using a closed dutch oven with the browned chicken, garlic, onion, spices, about a quarter cup of tomato and a very low flame. I agree with the poster who siad 45 min should do it.

                1. The first question that pops to mind for me is what kind of paprika you're using? I use Szeged Hungarian paprika, and it is rich and delicious. You might also try the same brand's hot paprika and leave out the chipotle powder. Another wonderfully rich paprika when you want a smoky flavor is La Chinata smoked sweet paprika from Spain. If you're already using the Szeged paprika(s) and still not getting the flavor you're after, try increasing the paprika. In my opinion, the only thing worth using "American" paprika (Schilling, McCormick, Spice Islands, etc.) for is to dust a little color on top of deviled eggs or potato salad.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Szeged is a big step in the right direction, but frankly, I find the imported Szeged to even be tame compared with the real stuff we get when we visit my in-laws in Budapest. Regardless, you really can't make chicken paprikash with an "American" paprika and a brand like Szeged will definitely make a difference.

                    1. re: DeisCane

                      I buy the hot Hungarian Paprika from Ratto's in Oakland. All the spices are sold by the ounce. I have no idea what the brand is, and now I need to find out..But what is the flavor Szegen? Is it hot, sweet, or mild? thanks!

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Szeged is a region in Hungary that is famed for its paprika growing. The name of this particular manufacturer is Pride of Szeged, though most of us shorthand that to Szeged. They package hot and sweet versions. I've found that most major grocery stores carry them, but that may depend on the part of the country. They're bright red cans, taller than the usual spice cans.

                        I'd guess you're getting pretty good, fresh paprika at Ratto's, but it would be interesting to ask them sometime where it's sourced from.

                        If anyone is curious., the 'sz' in the name is just pronounced 's'.

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Szeged comes in both sweet and hot versions. It is sold in most supermarkets. It is the brand that comes in the red and white can. Usually placed below the standard American brands on the shelf.

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        The Paprika I have is Badia brand (by Badia Spices in Miami, FL). It's in a large container, and I've had it for awhile. It was pretty cheap, bought at the grocery store. I'll have to try to find the Szeged brand paprika or the La Chinata. Thanks for the suggestions.


                        1. re: ctflowers

                          The Spanish smoked paprika is not a substitute for Hungarian paprika. It would be a good substitute for chipotle as a source of smokiness, but the smoky quality is too strong to use by the 1/4cup in a dish.


                          1. re: paulj

                            Didn't intend to imply that it's a substitute for Hungarian sweet paprika! I did suspect (correctly, it turns out) that she was using "American" paprika, and only intended to explain there are some great paprikas out there. Sorry for the poor wording.

                            1. re: paulj

                              paulj, I use about 3 T. Sanmel brand smoked sweet spanish paprika in an oven-braised chicken dish. It doesn't overwhelm the dish, but perhaps the use of 2 large onions, sliced into rings and melting into the meat helps mellow it out. I was going to suggest the use of onion slices (rather than chopped) in the bottom of the pot to the OP.

                            2. re: ctflowers

                              Oh yes, a fresh new can of Szeged should improve the flavor dramatically! ('Pride of Szeged' actually, Szeged being a region in Hungary famed to paprika growing.)

                              La Chinata is nice too, but I wouldn't use it here. The smokiness can be pretty strong and isn't really the flavor you want for an Hungarian paprikash.

                            3. re: Caroline1

                              Szeged is the way to go! I make chicken paprikash a lot, use Szeged. Have never thought of using chipotle powder. I make this in like 30 minutes almost as a stir fry in a 12 in skillet on top of the stove using chicken tenders. Penzy's is a great online resource for spices if your grocery doesn't carry Szeged. I keep paprika in freezer, keeps fresher.

                              I think you cooked it way too long. Saute 2 large diced yellow onions in 2 T EVOO in large 12 in skillet. This will take 10-15 min as you want carmelization. Saute 2 lb. chicken tenders till no longer transparent, add 1 T garlic (we love garlic!). Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup white wine, s&p to taste. Simmer gently 10 min. Add 1 cup lite sour cream, DO NOT BOIL. Heat through. If you need to thicken sauce, make little balls of equal parts butter and flour, add a few, stir, till you get correct consistency. Serve over rice or large egg noodles. Spatzle would be good as well.

                              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                Hi Diane, Where do you add the paprika? And how much. I agree with the lots of onion as being key.

                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                  Spring, thanks for pointing out the omission! Will have to correct recipe. I add the paprika when browning the onions. Toasting the paprika a little brings out a better flavor.

                            4. One step that I do that imparts the garlic and onion is to fry the chicken with half olive oil and half veg oil, onions, garlic and chicken together. Then I take it out of the pan to build the sauce. The other thing, I use a half of a cup of sour cream. Too much sour cream will wipe out even the hottest paprika, which is the one you want (you didn't mention), Then cover everything with chicken broth once you get it back into the crock pot. I don't know the settings on cp or how they work but remember to braise the chicken, covering it with broth. 4 hours is too long even in a crockpot.
                              The large can of tomatoes, use a smaller can, if you need depth add paste, I've made this with tomato sauce, and with fresh tomatoes, your really looking for a lovely lively sauce with the paprika. Instead of the large can of tomatoes, use chicken broth to replace some of the liquid. You shouldn't need to add flour to thicken this sauce either.
                              The other thing is that I know in my crockpot, the lid generates quite a bit of moisture, take the lid off, rather than trying to cook on high, and let it braise gently, adding the sour cream is the very last step.

                              1. Hi, My grandparents were from Hungary and here is the way my family makes Chicken Paprikash (Csirke Paprikas).

                                Use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces - we also prefer the white meat, but add a few legs or thighs for added flavor. I cut the breast halves in half.

                                Put some flour, salt and pepper in a shaker and use to coat chicken lightly, shake off excess.
                                Saute in vegetable oil until nicely browned, cover with a generious coating of paprika, flip pieces and stir to coat. Remove from pan.

                                Add one giant or two medium onions to the drippings in the pan, along with a few whole cloves of garlic, chopped carrots and chopped celery. Add salt and pepper and saute until wilted and just starting to brown. Add at least two Tablespoons of good quality paprika and stir to coat. Also add a small pinch of caraway seeds, rub them in your hands to release the oils.

                                Return chicken to the pan. Add about two cups of chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove lid and simmer for 10+ minutes to reduce the broth.

                                With a slotted spoon, remove veggies and chicken and set aside. (I use a large platter and put the chicken on one side and the veggies on the other.)

                                Taste the sauce in the pan and add more paprika, salt and/or pepper if needed. Mix together some flour and water and use to thicken the sauce in the pan. Stirring for a few minutes. Reduce heat and add up to a cup of sour cream, depending on your taste.

                                In my family the star of the dish is that it is always served with homemade Galuska, which is somewhat like spatzle.

                                Traditionally Chicken Paprikash is a delicately spiced dish, but I make mine stronger in flavor by adding extra paprika and using part hot paprika. Sometimes I also add some fresh hot peppers to the onion/carrot/celery mixture.

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                  This is a slightly different version from our family.

                                  As with yours, the dish gets its flavour from the onions and paprika and the chicken as you describe. And, yes, nokedli (galuska) is the only way to go along with a small dish of marinated cucumber salad. Lard is the first choice - just enough to coat the 2 medium or 1 large onions. The onion is chopped by hand as fine as possible and sayteed till just transparent. Then we add about a tablespoon of sweet paprika and stir quickly - the smell is amazing. Next we add the chicken pieces, stir to coat and brown for about 6 or 7 minutes. Enough water is added to just cover the chicken and it's then allowed to simmer till done. The only seasoning used is salt and white pepper. No garlic or flour is used. A very tiny amount of tomato is used - we can't taste it, but miss it if it's not there. Adjust the salt toward the end. Add sour cream only until you can just begin to taste it. The sauce will be a bit runnier without the roux, but still of good consitency and the chicken taste will really come through.

                                  These days we have health considerations so compromises are made - we use canola oil instead of lard and the skin is removed from the chicken.

                                  A note on the paprika. If you prefer a hotter dish, the Szeged is available in hot as well as sweet. Also it takes very little heat to get paprika rolling - it can turn bitter very quickly if cooked too long with the onions.

                                  1. re: DockPotato

                                    Thanks Dock! I forgot to mention the cucumber salad - cucumbers and onions sliced very, very thin with a dressing made with vinegar, water, salt, sugar and pepper. Sometimes a little dill is added. By tradition, my family did not use garlic either, I added that later. Also the family was split on thickening the sauce with a roux. Some members did (such as my mother), but others did not. I think the carrots and celery were also later modifications. My grandmother passed away about 50 years ago, so I never had an opportunity to meet her. She had 14 children and would cut the galuska by hand over a very large pot of boiling water. Making enough to feed 20 to 40 people in the years once her children started having families. I wish I had the opportunity to sit and chat with her while she cooked.

                                    Yes, I use Szeged in both hot and sweet varieties. When I was in Austria a few years ago, I found a brand called Sonnentor Organic in a health food store. It is amazing and I have since ordered online. If interested, do a google search.

                                    1. re: DockPotato

                                      Sorry for another post. But how do you make your nokedli (galuska)? My grandmother and mother cut the dough off the side of the mixing bowl directly into a pot of boiling water. I have never quite managed to master that technique - my dumplings always come out too big. I usually use the alternative of laying out plenty of cutting boards, coating them with lots of water and cutting off pieces of dough that are about as wide as a pencil and maybe 1 inch to 1.5 inches long. Then I wet my hands and move them to the boiling water. When I am making a quick version, I use a spaezle maker.

                                      1. re: Springhaze2

                                        "...my dumplings always come out too big..." How big is too big? We tried a spaezle maker but found the noodles too small. We like a larger chunk that can pick up the sauce, whether over or beside, and has a chewier texture.

                                        I may or may not do the chicken, but mostly my wife does the dumplings - she has them nailed.They need very little time from start to finish. She uses the flattest dinner plate we have, and cuts the dumplings in with a teaspoon. Occasionally I do them and I use a small chopping board with either a butter knife or teaspoon. If they're not too silly, we eat them.

                                        1. re: DockPotato

                                          Too big is how they come out when I try to just cut them over the boiling water. I agree that the spaezle maker is too small. So the best way I found for me was to wet down lots of cutting boards and cut them on the boards. Makes a mess, but I agree they need to be larger than spaetzle, but smaller than the ones I manage to cut over the side of a bowl. I will try the teaspoon and flat plate method and see how it works. Thanks!

                                          1. re: Springhaze2

                                            I'm confused??? What is this pasta called that you are making? Are they like a gnocchi?

                                        2. re: Springhaze2

                                          We're all talking about the same thing, right? Little tiny irregular potato dumplings served with porkolt and csirke paprikas?

                                          Because when I was living in Budapest, we made galuska using an implement that looked like a very coarse grater with a bit of a rim. You would hook it over a boiling pot of water, spoon some dough onto it, and using a plastic spatula, sweep the dough over the grater holes. The dough would come through in small irregular wrinkly pieces that were perfect for sopping up sauce. And we made galuska often, because I dearly loved a dumpling and cheese dish called sztrapacska - made with a sharp sheep's milk curd called juhturo (also brindza), which I also miss very much)

                                          You can buy this implement in any Hungarian home shop - I never saw anyone cutting up galuska by hand there. It might lack the grandma touch, but you might look for one of these if you make them often.

                                          Also, lard was definitely the fat of choice for chicken paprikash... And I had a friend whose grandmother used chicken blood as a thickener in it too, out on the farm. Not sure if she was being thrifty or uber-traditional. but she made a delicious chicken paprikash.

                                          1. re: plum

                                            I'm confused with all of these tools for making spaetzle. Am I the only one who makes them by putting the dough on the bottom of a cake pan (turned upside down), then scraping off little bits into boiling water with a blade spatula (the kind you use to frost a cake). They turn out irregular in shape, and whatever size you want them to be.

                                            I learned to make them years and years ago, and it never occurred to me there was any other way to do it. Does anyone else make them this way?

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              I bought a spaetzle maker and use it - my attempts at other methods failed miserably, though I know that your method is a traditional one.

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                Wouldn't a large holed colander or slotted spoon work?

                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                Hi Caroline, I agree it is confusing. From my perspective, which is not necessarily right, spaetzle noodles are smaller and thinner than galuska. I wish I could paint pictures here. But traditional spaetzle when cooked is about the size of a pencil around and about 1 inch or less long. When cooked galuska are more irregularly shaped. Think of an irregular oval, that is about 3/4 to 7/8 inches at the widest and about an inch to 1 1/2 inches long.

                                                From the method you descripe it sounds like you have the technique down for making galuska. The thinner spaetzle shape can be made by pressing the dough through a spaetzle maker, which is like a grater with bigger wholes.

                                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                                  Not galuska. Spaetzle! But I suppose I could make galuska with my method if I made them bigger.

                                                  I looked up some spaetzle recipes on the internet and didn't find any that recommended my method of forming them. They all call for some sort of tool, from a "spaetzle maker" to a potato ricer. With as many gadgets as I have in my kitchen, I'm gonna stay with "multi-tasking" with a cake pan and a spatula!

                                                  One of the recipes I found called for a really thick dough that is ultimately rolled out with a rolling pin, then cut! I think that must be the recipe my local "Bavarian" restaurant uses. They're like eating white gravel! blech!

                                              3. re: plum

                                                Hi plum, Unfortunately I have not yet made it to Hungary. I was in Austra about 100 miles away, but had no time to travel to Hungary. So my knowledge of Hungarian cooking is as a second generation American, who had a family that tried to carry on traditions but often adapted the recipes to what was readily available. What we called galuska is a noodle/dumpling cross that is more dense than a noodle but not as large as a dumpling. No potato, just flour, eggs, salt and oil mixed together and thinned with water until came to the right consistancy. Let to rest for 1/2 hour. The method my grandmother and mother used was to just tilt the mixing bowl on the edge of a pot of boiling water and cut off pieces with a knife, (dipping the knife in the water occasionally).

                                                The implement you are recommending sounds like a spaezle maker which makes noodles/dumplings that are smaller than what I am talking about.

                                                Your description of sztrapacska reminds me of something my family makes but I do not have the Hungarian spelling, so I will try a phonics based spelling. (Twos-dos-di-efsta). It is a combination cooked egg noodles, large curd cottage cheese and butter, baked in the oven. yummy with Hungarian style meat balls and gravy on the side.

                                                1. re: plum

                                                  I bought a galuska maker when I was in Hungary in 1988, and I dearly love it!

                                                  It's more or less like the one on the bottom right:


                                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                    Thanks for this link, I'll check it out! I have no idea why I thought they were made out of wood.

                                          2. Not traditional, strictly speaking, but I use white wine as well as chicken stock. A good quality Hungarian white wine will give you a nice depth of flavour and a slightly floral quality.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                              I agree, I use a half a cup of good white, and looks like we do make it the same way. I do use a dry white wine, chicken stock and the other difference is white pepper, bloomed in butter and oil and then in goes white wine to reduce quite a bit to develop a good flavor. The bits from the pan are in there too. I have another quirky trick I do too.....

                                            2. All this talk about chicken paprikash made me crave it, so I made it last night! Of course I must make fresh spaezle as well. I did pay really close attention to my steps, and I also read some of the other posts to try a few new things.
                                              I added celery and carrot last night, I've not done that before. And I must comment I think it did add to the overall flavor of the sauce.
                                              I used chicken breast (mainly because I had thawed them out) I usually use a whole cut up chicken. The bones do lend to the overall deep flavor.
                                              I have to say, it was excellent. The sauce was really really good. My husband was happy as a clam. He did not want to wait for me to saute the spaezle in butter, so I just tossed it in butter and fresh parsley and served the sauce over.

                                              Everytime I make this dish, I think that its the best. I don't think you can go wrong, use the paprika freely, bloom it in oil, and use lots of onion. Will I use celery and carrot again? I don't know. Now I have to try it again without it!!

                                              19 Replies
                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                Hi Chicklet, I am glad you liked the addition of celery and carrot. I think it adds to the depth of flavor. I also use boneless chicken breasts if I'm in a hurry or making it for just two of us. I make galuska, which is similar to spaezle, and never add butter to it or fry it in butter. To me part of the dish is the soft texture of the unfried noodle/dumplings.

                                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                                  Yes indeed, the spaezle, was excellent, it was nice to have a tender little pasta bite with that Wonderful sauce!

                                                  Chicken Paprikash needs to be recognized. If a person is tired of their usual chicken casserole dishes, this is one that needs to be tried.

                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                    Hungarian cooking rocks!! Made some great beef goulash last weekend for the freezer and planning on having some tonight. It's a billion calories but at least you have great taste while you're eating noodles, sour cream, onion, and other goodies!

                                                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                      Ok now! I agree, I love it as well. I would love love your Goulash recipe, please?

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        Check out "The Hungarian Cookbook" by Susan Derecskey. There are some really great recipes in there. We especally like the Pork Cutlets with Potatoes and the Pork Cutlets with Green Beans. I don't usually cook pork, but these are family favorites. She also gives the best recipe I have seen for Hungarian style Salad Dressing - very healthy with no oil. There are some great veggie recipes including some for kohlrabi, a very underlooked vegetable in the US.

                                                        1. re: Springhaze2

                                                          That is great, thanks for the information for the cookbook.
                                                          I'm a huge fan of spices, hot paprika, smoky and caraway, I don't use them near enough. I am not opposed to using my crock pot, it does a good job for certain foods. Thanks again!

                                                          1. re: Springhaze2

                                                            That book is treasure. I got mine for $2 at a book stall - not a wasted page in it, is there?

                                                            In my edition there is a recipe for "Marjoram Beef" (Hagymas Tokany) on page 111 which I never encountered before. The taste must be experienced.

                                                            Many of Hungarian derivation know and respect this site:


                                                            1. re: DockPotato

                                                              That book is wonderful. It was actually a gift from my father, who loves the fact that my sister and I have embraced his heritage. My reprint is from 1987. It is pretty tattered and I need to search for a hard covered edition before it is too late to find it. (My father is 81 and my sister and I are around 50.) It has been a over 50 years since my Grandmother (nagyanya..."nudge mama") left us.

                                                              Anyway, page 111 in mine calls the dish Beef Stew with Onions, it does call for marjoram, so I assume it is the same. I have not tried that one before, but will now that you have brought it to my attention. Have you ever done the Pork with Potatoes (Paprikas Szelet) or Pork with Green Beans ( Temesvari Szelet) on pages 80 and 81 of my book? I don't cook much pork, but those too dishes are great for a cold winter's night. I also love some of the techniques for cooking vegetables...like kohlrabi in roux.

                                                              1. re: Springhaze2

                                                                Beef stew with onions is the one. No I haven't tried those pork dishes yet. We must have similar editions - the recipes are on the same pages.

                                                            2. re: Springhaze2

                                                              Would you share the Hungarian style dressing, sounds intriguing!

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                Intriguing? You'll laugh at how simple the dressing is. Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. You don't even have to stir this.

                                                                Pour over sliced cucumber that has been salted, let stand for a few minutes and then rinsed and squeezed so that the slices are limp. It's fine as is but depending on your mood you can add thinly sliced onion, black pepper or sprinkle with paprika.

                                                                It also works with plain lettuce and lettuce with sliced radishes.

                                                                These salads are served in a small side bowl with paprikas and Hungarian stews. If the main does not use sour cream, you can add a bit to your dressing - about a tablespoon to the ingredients above.

                                                                These salads are fine when made and, for some people, even better if left to stand a while.

                                                                1. re: DockPotato

                                                                  Thank you for posting, I am sorry I missed your response, but let me see if I understand.

                                                                  Pour the mix over the lettuce or cukes, then rinse it and add paprika, onion, salt and pepper?

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                    Apologies for the poor wording.

                                                                    For lettuce, just add some of the dressing - a bit more than you would with regular dressing - and it's ready to eat. We may use sour cream, but no other additions, other than a couple of thinly sliced, red radishes.

                                                                    Cucumbers are very thinly sliced using a mandolin. Put them in bowl and sprinkle with salt - use about a tablespoon per cucumber. Let them sit for about 20 minutes until limp, squeeze out as much liquid as you can by hand, and rinse. Add the dressing. At this stage you can add a small amount of thinly sliced onion, paprika, or pepper. Again, the dressing may or may not include sour cream.

                                                                    Either vegetable is ready to eat immediately, but both also good at second sittings - particularly the cucumber.

                                                                    We find ourselves using the uncreamed version of the dressing more and more on tossed salads as well.

                                                                    1. re: DockPotato

                                                                      Well this sounds refreshingly good, and I'm going to make it. A perfect salad for a rich dinner!

                                                            3. re: chef chicklet

                                                              Hi again Chicklet. While I do cook some terrific traditional Hungarian recipes, my favorite Goulash is made in a slow cooker/Crock Pot.

                                                              Start in a large pan with:
                                                              1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
                                                              1 large chopped onion or more to taste (it is all about the onions).
                                                              1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped.
                                                              2 pounds round beef, cut into cubes.
                                                              2 tablespoons flour
                                                              1 teaspoon salt
                                                              Fresh cracked pepper
                                                              2 tablespoons paprika
                                                              a few sprigs of fresh thyme or a pinch of dried.
                                                              1 bay leaf
                                                              pinch of caraway seeds - rubbed in your hand to release the oils.
                                                              fresh rosemary sprig or a few pinches of dried.
                                                              2 cans (14.5 ounce) diced organic tomatoes (I use Muir Glen).
                                                              up to one cup sour cream, depending on taste.

                                                              Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for at least 10 minutes. You are looking for wilted but not brown. Add garlic and stir.

                                                              Add beef, flour and seasonings/herbs and stir well. Let cook a few minutes.
                                                              Add the canned tomatoes and dump into the crock pot. (you can make the early prep at night and add to crock pot in the morning.) Cook on low for 7 to 10 hours. Add sour cream about 30 minutes before serving and stir. Serve over spatzel or hot buttered noodles. (I usually toss the noodles with butter and poppy seeds).

                                                              1. re: Springhaze2

                                                                Oh gosh this is a really nice Winter meal, thank you so much for sharing. I love that you add rosemary and bay leaf.
                                                                This is the way I like my roast beef made!
                                                                Thanks! sharon

                                                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                                                  This is puzzling: is there a difference between gulyas (goulash) and gulyasleves?

                                                                  I grew up thinking that goulash was this thick beef stew, as well. However, when I lived in Hungary, the gulyas I sampled was nothing like my image, which was nearly the same thing as what Springhaze has described. The gulyas was a clear meat based soup, which roughly cut vegetables and noodles; the kind of thing a herdsman (or gulya) would make. Though, perhaps this was gulyasleves (leves = soup) and gulyas is something else...

                                                                  As others have suggested, though not with enough zeal, the key to adding flavor to almost every Hungarian dish is lard. There's lard in everything. Paprikas, pogacsa, toltott kaposzta (forgive the lack of accents); makes it hard for us Hungarian Jews.

                                                                  Lastly, someone mentioned something about a lightly seasoned (or something to that effect) Hungarian dish. Lightly seasoned and Hungarian are never associated, in my mind. Hungarians like to cook the hell out of their food.

                                                                  1. re: Michael Juhasz

                                                                    Guylas is indeed the soup. "Guylas Us" (Goulash meat), or "porkolt" are the stews. I've had chicken paprikas made by Jewish friends and it's as good, if not better, with chicken fat.

                                                                    1. re: Michael Juhasz

                                                                      My understanding, with my grandparents being from Hungary, is that there is Goulash Soup (gulyas leves) and Beef Goulash (bogracs gulyas) which is a thin stew. When I was in Austria and Germany, I had some amazing versions of Goulash Soup, but never encountered the "stew" version.

                                                                      The American version of Beef Goulash tends to be thicker, which is the simple crock-pot version of the recipe that I posted.

                                                                      I also posted about traditional chicken paprikas being delicately spiced, rather than being over the top in seasoning. While I tend to make my paprikash highly seasoned, traditionally, it is a rather mild dish. You say Hungarians like to "cook the hell out of their food", do you mean overcooked or over spiced? My experience with family traditions has been that veggies and meat tend to be overcooked, as in mushy or dry. However, when I am cooking handed down Hungarian recipes, I tend to add more spices to make the foods more to American tastes.

                                                        2. As far as my experience goes, as cooking the thing and as how I learned it from my Hungarian father (and wonderfully explained and recipe-ed by George Lang in his classic _Cuisine of Hungary_) a key thing is that chicken paprikash is simply chicken porkolt with a dollop of sour cream at the end. In the porkolt the chicken itself is "singed," immersed in a vanishing amalgam of garlic, onions, and sweet and hot parika (and caraway, perhaps). The liquid have no flour (we're not in France!), in fact, no "sauce" to speak of except that of the chicken itself and the the moisture released by the onions. The end result will be far more intense, and certainly is not a "stew with sour cream."

                                                          The flour can be stirred into the sour cream, but traditional Hungarian sour cream is creamier, and the dish is more special with a spoonful or two of sweet cream. On the opposite end, half yogurt and half sour cream adds a little tang. (Also, as you probably know, once the sour cream is added the mixture cannot be allowed to boil, or the cream will curdle.)

                                                          Anyway, these are my two cents. Happy cooking.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                            1. re: jpr54_1

                                                              It sure does.

                                                              rbraham's description is right on. I prefer it made with sweet paprika rather than hot...but that's just family preference/tradition.
                                                              George Lang's book is indeed a classic, and a great starting point for anyone looking into Hungarian cuisine.

                                                          1. There are as many ways to make authentic Paprkas as there are Hungarians. Hungarians are a stubborn lot, and most every Hungarian will tell you, quite emphatically, that theirs is really the best recipie. Some will say garlic has no place in the dish, others will insist that tomatoes should be omitted. Still others will tell you that it shouldn't even be made with chicken but rather veal.
                                                            On two occasions I've eaten Paprikash that was made with no meat at all...both different, and both incredibly delicious rivalling any version made with meat.
                                                            I won't add a recipe to the mix here, and I won't go on about why I can't stand Paprikas made with white meat chicken and why it is much better with the dark meat (uh-oh...there I go...being Hungarian again...).I can only say that there is no way you need to or should even want to use to use a slow cooker/crockpot to make this dish. It won't improve it, it certainly won't be authentic, and it unquestionably won't be as good as doing it on the stovetop.
                                                            Honestly. I would happily participate in (and win) a throwdown on that point alone!
                                                            Crockpots can indeed enhance some dishes, but like microwaves, it can also ruin some.