Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paprikás Csirke, with Galuska (Hungarian Chicken and Dumplings)

Chicken and dumplings are perfect together. They fall under the category of “comfort food” for many people – myself included. There’s a million variations. Maybe you remember a layer of flavorful herb biscuit dumplings floating on a sea of thick chicken soup, or a large tangy buttermilk biscuit dumpling served alongside slow-cooked braised chicken. Or maybe you like tender strips of chicken nestled in thick, ribbon-cut noodle-style dumplings, or maybe you enjoy Italian gnocchi and chicken enveloped in a spicy marinara sauce.

Here is yet another variation I enjoy: chicken in a paprika sauce, enriched with tangy sour cream – Hungarian comfort food.

I taught my sister-in-law how to make this recipe, so we work on it together. She is in charge of the chicken and its sauce, and I am in charge of making the galuska. To increase our speed and efficiency, she also fishes the cooked galuska out of the water for me. We can throw this meal together in no time when the two of us work on it collectively. This is a really easy meal to make, but there’s a lot going on at once, so it is definitely easier when you’ve got a helper around. I like to serve this with broccoli, which nicely soaks up the paprika-flavored sauce. (Everything’s better with paprika!)

Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprika), with Galuska (dumplings)
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or chicken thighs
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled & chopped
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika (or more, to taste)
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1 to 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream

Wash chicken and pat dry. Trim any fat away as necessary, and set the chicken aside. I usually use breasts, and usually cut them into bite-sized pieces to shorten the cooking time.

In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat vegetable oil, uncovered over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook uncovered until onions are translucent and cooked through.

Meanwhile, begin the Galuska recipe by heating a pot of water to a boil and mixing the dough:

Galuska (Dumplings)
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Water, for boiling Galuska

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter, egg, milk, salt, and 1-1/2 cups flour until smooth. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture is the consistency of sticky cookie dough. If dough gets too stiff, add a little more milk. The dough should be sticky, but not so moist as to be liquidy. It should hold its shape when spooned.

In a large saucepan or small stockpot, bring water to a boil. Using a small teaspoon, scoop up a small amount of dough, approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon; use a second spoon to shape the dough into a somewhat spherical shape, and scrape the dough off into the boiling water. Add several more pieces of dough, stirring frequently to keep dough from sticking.

Boil the Galuska until they rise to the surface – 2 to 3 minutes each. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the floating dumplings out; drain them in a colander and set them aside. As you remove cooked pieces, continue to add dough to the boiling water until all of the dough is used up.

While the dumplings are cooking, continue to prepare the chicken:

If using chicken thighs or similarly thick pieces of meat, sprinkle the onion mixture with salt and both paprikas; add 1 cup of chicken stock to moisten pan. Stir the onion mixture, then add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and allow it to simmer while you continue preparation of Galuska. Turn the chicken as necessary during preparation to ensure meat is evenly cooked. Keep an eye on the sauce in the pan, and as the pan begins to dry up, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock at a time to remoisten and deglaze pan. Skip to the final step below...

If using smaller pieces of chicken, sprinkle the onion mixture with salt and both paprikas; add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to moisten pan. Stir the onion mixture, reduce the heat to medium, and allow the sauce to simmer while you continue preparation of Galuska. Once liquid is reduced and the pan begins to dry up, add the chicken pieces and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Allow the chicken to cook, turning as necessary to ensure chicken is evenly cooked. Keep an eye on the sauce in the pan, and as the pan begins to dry up again, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock at a time to remoisten and deglaze pan. If chicken pieces complete their cooking process before you are finished with the Galuska, turn heat down to low to keep warm and slow the cooking process. Continue with final step below...

Final Step: Once Galuska are prepared and cooked, add the sour cream to the chicken/onion mixture. Stir well to incorporate; heat on medium-low heat only until sour cream is heated through. Do not allow sauce to boil excessively. Fold cooked and drained Galuska into sauce; stir to coat all pieces with sauce. Taste and add additional paprika as necessary.


  1. This looks and sounds very good!

  2. Thanks! My husband said "Make this again!" the first time I made it for him. I hope you enjoy it too!

  3. My Great Grandmother taught my mom to make this for my dad. Chicken Paprika, or Chicken Paprikasch. You have it right down to the dumplings. I make it just as you describe, however my mom still makes it the old fashioned way with a Fryer chicken, simmering the bone in chicken slowly with the butter and onions till it almost falls off the bones. It's even better the next day. And if for some reason you don't like dumplings, egg noodles work too, I used to eat left overs on toast like an open face sandwich too. Because we'd run out of dumplings before we ate all the chicken.
    Thanks for posting the recipe and instructions.

    1. Thank you for sharing! Your mom's version sounds delicious, and I bet it smells wonderful in the house when she makes it! Yes, I've also made it with egg noodles (the fattest cut kind is my favorite), but only if I have leftovers or no time to make the galuska.