Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Paprika Chicken

Thanksgiving is just over a week away! Most people find it shocking that I'm not a fan of traditional Thanksgiving fare: I don't like cooked turkey, stuffing, gravy, or cranberry sauce.  Nevertheless, I love Thanksgiving because it means I get to spend time with my family.  Every year, we spend a week on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  While the temperature isn't typically warm enough for suntanning, the 60° weather is a much needed break from the 30-40s in the northeast.  We enjoy the break from work, spending time outside riding bikes and walking on the beach.  Our flight leaves early (5AM!) this Saturday, and it cannot come soon enough!

This dish was simply divine.  It met some of our top favorite recipe requirements: pasta, saucy, and spicy! Mirepoix was a new ingredient for me, and KK told me it’s actually in a few of my saved recipes.  Traditionally a French ingredient, mirepoix is a combination of chopped celery, carrots, and onion that is used as a flavor base for soups and sauces.  Thank you Wikipedia! I used even portions of the three ingredients, and have increased the amount from 1 cup to 1 ½ below because I thought the base sauce could use a little more flavor (and vegetables).  I decided to butterfly my chicken breasts to reduce the cook time, and it only took about 15 minutes for the chicken to cook through in step #3.  I have a few different types of paprika in my spice cabinet, so I used 2 parts spicy smoked paprika and 1 part sweet-smoked.  Using the sweet paprika took a bit of spicy edge out of the flavoring.  After adding the chicken, egg noodles, and caramelized onions to the sauce, our preference was to keep the mixture quite saucy, but you can always leave the mixture on the heat for a little while longer if you prefer the sauce level reduced a bit.  I'm normally not excited about leftovers, but I'm already thinking about having this for lunch today because it was just that good!

Paprika Chicken
Adapted from Feeding Andy
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 4

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ cup mirepoix (small diced carrot, celery, and onion)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied
1 ½ Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup white cooking wine
1 bay leaf
Pinch of dried thyme
8 oz. egg noodles
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, julienned or thinly sliced
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup evaporated milk
Parsley, for topping

1. In a large Dutch oven or casserole dish (with a lid), melt butter under medium heat.  Add mirepoix and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.  Push mirepoix to one side and add chicken breasts in an even layer.  Cook for 2 minutes per side; chicken will not be cooked through.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and sprinkle paprika on top of the chicken; cover and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle flour on top of the chicken; stir to make a paste of the flour, chicken, paprika, and mirepoix.  Increase heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth, cooking wine, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot.  Bring to a boil at high heat, and then reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken from pot, cut into bite-sized pieces, and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions.

5. While noodles cook, add olive oil to a medium sauté pan.  Sauté onions until they caramelize; season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

6. After removing the chicken, bring the sauce to a boil and reduce mixture by half, about 10 minutes.  Stir in evaporated milk and continue to reduce sauce until it is at desired consistency, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cooked egg noodles, onion, and chicken.  Garnish with parsley.

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