Recently was buying some items from a deli. The man behind the counter handed the items said to me and then said "Oh you know I thought you'd speak with an accent!". He was always quite friendly and I don't think that he was being mean but I did kind of raise an eyebrow. He was smiling so sweetly and from previous encounters I had deduced that he was probably a bit special needs so I didn't say what I wanted to say, that is "Well you don't get out much do you?"
I often gets asked for Chinese restaurant recommendations (which I don't mind at all, I consider it part of my job and it's nice when people ask you for recommendations) and I even get asked for directions to Chinatown (by Chinese tourists who get frustrated that I can't speak Chinese). Couriers coming to my door often do a double take when they see my last name "You're Lorraine Elliott?" which I find amusing. None of those things really bother me because of course I know people make assumptions (although the people that speak very loudly and slowly to me really, really annoy me). People make assumptions all the time about the car that some drive, hair colour, where they live and where they shop at. I make assumptions too.
Like when my friend Christie was coming over for blinis and tea with her darling baby daughter Poppy. As soon as she walked in I grabbed her arm. "Can you please taste this paprika chicken?". You see I had done a bit of assuming myself as Christie is half Hungarian and I wanted her opinion on the dish as she would know what Hungarian paprika chicken should taste like. I knew that it tasted good but I wanted to know whether it tasted like the _authentic _Hungarian paprika chicken. She took a forkful and confirmed my suspicions that it was good but the Hungarian paprika chicken is usually in a thinner, soupier sauce.
She's even cute when she cries! Poppy holding my birthday present
I'm so smitten by this easy, Winter friendly recipe I've made it a few times and it never fails to comfort when the weather outside is particularly beastly as it has been this past week. I'm already over Winter and it's technically only the first week! The reason why I make this dish so often is for starters all you really need is sour cream and chicken and the rest is probably in your pantry cupboard. You can make this in the pressure cooker or on the stovetop in a casserole dish. The pressure cooker is faster of course but given that you could keep this on the stove without stirring it much it is very low maintenance.
The pressure cooker version of the chicken was cooked for longer than it needed to be (probably for almost double the time). Still the chicken was tasty and whilst it had much less sauce than I wanted it to and wouldn't qualify as a traditional Hungarian paprika chicken, it was eagerly devoured for dinner that evening. I've made it since with the proper amount of time as specified below and it is more liquid but nonetheless creamy and delicious. The paprika and sour cream give is a slightly spicy creaminess and the chicken thighs are soft and tender making them the perfect foil for rice or noodles.
The recipe is actually from the cookbook that came with the cooker. Actually creamy is a misnomer. In fact there is only half a cup of light sour cream involved in this recipe which can feed 4 people. In fact Christie tells me that traditionally it is served with a cucumber sour cream salad so that the sour cream isn't added into the chicken itself but is added when you mix the cucumber sour cream salad into the chicken. Don't you just love versatile recipes like this?
So tell me Dear Reader, what assumptions have or do people make about you? Are they correct? And do you enjoy defying stereotypes as much as I do?
Creamy Paprika Chicken
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 tomatoes, diced
1 red capsicum diced
1.5 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
4-6 chicken thigh fillets with skin removed (about 1 kg/2 pounds)
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup (125ml) light sour cream
salt and pepper to season
If using a pressure cooker:
1a. Press function on the pressure cooker and set to saute for 15 minutes. Press start and after 3 minutes once the pan is hot, add the oil and saute onions, garlic, tomato and capsicum until soft. As I blended mine up quite finely it didn't take long but if you dice them it may take about 5-6 minutes. Add paprika and cook for 1 minute (be careful not to burn the paprika as it turns bitter). Add chicken pieces and coat in the tomato and paprika mixture and cook for 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and bay leaf and stir. Secure the lid on the pressure cooker.
2a. Press the function button and select pressure cook. Enter 25 minutes and press start. Ensure pressure release valve is turned to the pressure position and control dial is set on medium pressure. When the time is up release the pressure and open lid carefully. Season with salt and pepper and stir in sour cream just before serving. Yours will be more saucy than mine as mine was cooked for longer.
Using a regular casserole dish with lid
1b. Heat a flameproof casserole dish heat and add oil and saute onions, garlic, tomato and capsicum until soft. As I blended mine up quite finely it didn't take long but if you dice them it may take about 5-6 minutes. Add paprika and cook for 1 minute (be careful not to burn the paprika as it turns bitter). Add chicken pieces and coat in the tomato and paprika mixture and cook for 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and bay leaf and stir. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid and cook covered for one hour and 15 minutes until cooked and tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in sour cream just before serving. Yours will be more saucy than mine as mine was cooked for longer.