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Happy October – Chicken Ghoul-ash October 6, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Eating Down the Fridge, Food.
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For some reason, whenever I type “goulash” my fingers just want to add that extra “h” in there, so I figured, why not just go with it?

So anyway, the other day, we enjoyed Food & Wine’s Chicken Goulash again – and we did enjoy it!

PhotobucketRemember a few months back, when I picked up a 10-pound package of chicken leg quarters and boned them?  Yeah, this is why.  Or part of the reason, anyway.  Chicken thigh meat is a lot more forgiving than breast – it doesn’t dry out the way white meat tends to.  Additionally, the flavor will stand up to heavier seasoning – like hot Hungarian paprika.

Now this is a fairly simple meal to put together – it takes a little planning, but not much.

We start with a couple of pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks (about 2 inch pieces).  I sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper on the chicken, then liberally dusted them with flour before browning them in a bit of butter and olive oil in an oven-safe skillet.  (We’re going to finish this in the oven, so make sure the pan will go in there – no plastic handles!)  Don’t worry if the meat’s not completely done – we’re not done cooking it!

The flour will help the chicken form a bit of a “crust” – helping it retain its moisture, while also thickening the eventual sauce we’ll be making in the same pan.  You’ve gotta love one-pan meals!

Try to keep the meat in a single layer, and let it brown, just turning once.  (The more you leave it alone, the better it will brown.)  So once the chicken is fairly nicely browned (about 7 minutes), go ahead and remove it to a bowl or plate.

PhotobucketWhile I was browning the chicken, Peeps was starting the dumplings – in the food processor, combine a cup and a half of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.  Pulse in 4 Tablespoons of cold butter – it’s all just like any other biscuit or dumpling, only instead of milk or buttermilk, we’re going to use a combination of 1/2 cup each of chicken stock and (light) sour cream for the liquid.

There’s probably no reason not to just mix this up in a bowl, either.  Remember, though, these are going to be dumplings, so the dough is going to be wet.

PhotobucketOnce the chicken  came out of the pan, I added a finely chopped onion, a finely diced red pepper, and a couple of cloves of garlic, minced.  Cook the veggies until they’re softened, just a couple of minutes or so.

Remember, the pan is hot!

PhotobucketNow we’re going to add the chicken back to the pan, along with the spices – just 2 Tablespoons of hot Hungarian paprika and 3/4 teaspoon of caraway seeds.  Stir the spices in and cook for 30 seconds or so – until the paprika is fragrant.  Don’t let it burn, though!

PhotobucketStir 2 cups of chicken stock and another 1/2 cup of sour cream into the pan.   Just like with the biscuits, I whisked them together first.  Stir until smooth – which is why I whisked first!  Then I added the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme and brought the whole thing to a boil.

Then we scooped the dumpling dough on top of the boiling gravy and just slid the whole pan into a 425° oven for 20 minutes, until the sauce was bubbly and the dumplings were cooked.

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Turn the broiler on (low setting) and just brown the top of the dumplings for a couple of minutes, then remove from the oven and voila! ready to serve.

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Serve in bowls – it’s easier.  We had a nice crisp salad on the side, and it was delightful!  The chickeny-sour cream sauce is rich and creamy, and the chicken is moist and full of flavor.  And, of course, dumplings.  Who doesn’t love dumplings?

Just a quick word of warning.  There’s a lot of paprika in this dish, and, while normally, paprika is little more than a garnish, if you do use hot paprika, there is a bit of a bite.  The sweet red peppers do help temper that, but it’s still there.  While it’s not at all overwhelming, if you’re not a fan of  “spicy,” or if you’re cooking for children, you may want to swap out some or all of the hot stuff for sweet paprika.

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