Chicken Paprikash

by Merlin

Before we start, let me add a modification that I haven't yet tried.  I've been using macaroni shells as a substitute for the Hungarian dumplings (nockerle) that the recipe calls for.  I was recently told by one of my clients, who happens to be Hungarian, that gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) are almost exactly like nockerle, and gnocchi is (are?) readily available in many grocery stores.  Next time I make this dish, I'll try the gnocchi and see how it is.


Here we go. This is my FAVORITE recipe. The name of the dish is Chicken Paprikash. (the translation from Hungarian is "Paprika Chicken".)

I started with an original, authentic recipe and made some minor variations. The reason I know the original recipe is authentic Hungarian is because it started, "Steal one chicken."

OK. Ingredients: 1 chicken (stolen or otherwise)
1 lb. bacon
1 lb. of the smallest size macaroni shells you can find. (The original calls for a Hungarian dumpling called nockerle, but the tiny shells are a reasonable substitute.)
1 pt. heavy cream
more paprika (If you can find it, get the Hungarian hot paprika. Most American paprika has no taste.)

First, start the shells boiling. While they're boiling, do the following:

Dice the bacon and fry until well-done. KEEP the grease and bacon in the pan.

The original recipe calls for the chicken to be cut up in pieces. I bone it out and cut it into bite-sized pieces. (I've even made it with boneless chicken breasts cut into chunks.)

Add the chicken to the bacon and grease, and fry until done. Turn the heat up and cook until the chicken/bacon/grease begins to burn in the bottom or the pan. (Really! It adds flavor.)

At some point along the way, the shells will be done. (Keep them a LITTLE on the al dente side.) Drain them, and put them back into the pot you boiled them in.

Add ABOUT a quarter of a cup (not tsp) of paprika to the chicken and stir in well. Look at the color. It's not red enough. Add more paprika. It still isn't red enough. Add some more.

Add the chicken/bacon/grease/paprika to the shells and mix well. Add MORE paprika and stir it through.

Add the eye of newt, oops, I mean heavy cream to the mixture, and mix in enough additional paprika to make it look like tomato sauce.

Serve now, or, even better, refrigerate and reheat and serve the next day. (It always tastes better the next day.)

Salt to taste. The amount of salt required will depend on the paprika you use, but it always needs SOME salt. - BTW, Hungarians have salt, pepper and paprika shakers on the table, and you can always add a little more paprika.

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