This creamy casserole is brimming with comforting flavors.
Fans of Eastern European cooking will no doubt have heard of chicken paprikash. The dish gets its name from the generous amount of paprika that both colors and flavors the dish. Paprika is made by drying and then grinding various kinds of peppers, both bell and spicy peppers, for a flavorful spice powder.
Paprika is the national spice of Hungary and comes in hot, sweet, smoked and other varieties. So, if you wanted a more complex flavor in this dish you could use smoked or hot paprika instead.
The old fashioned way to make this recipe is time consuming, but we’ve got a recipe that takes a lot less time and yet turns out magnificent without fail.
The first step is to sauté the chicken (either breast or thighs, cubed). Remove the chicken and then start on the sauce using the same pan. The trick to making this hearty sauce is the unique combination of flavors. Sauté onions, red bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil to start.
After the pepper has been cooked enough to become tender (8-10 minutes) then add the paprika and flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to make a thickened roux. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. This gives the spices a chance to heat up and “bloom” in the pan and really show their true flavors in the finished casserole.
The next step is to add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and add in cream cheese and sour cream. The dairy in this casserole adds a rich and velvety texture that makes this dish so comforting.
Traditionally chicken paprikash is simmered for hours and then served over nokedli (homemade noodles) or rice or buckwheat. To keep everything simple we used egg noodles which are a family favorite and have that great texture that goes with nearly anything.
Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce is made then it’s just a matter of combining all the elements into one pan to be baked in the oven. Bake at 350˚F for 20-25 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking combine bread crumbs and butter in a pan and gently toast the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the casserole just before serving, along with some chopped parsley.
With about an hour of cook time in total you can have a wonderful, Hungarian-inspired meal on the table – without standing over the stove for hours. We call that a big win!
Chicken Paprikash Casserole
25m prep time
1h 2m cook time
- 1 1/2 pounds cubed chicken breast or thigh
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 8 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cook noodles to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook chicken in a large skillet for 6-8 minutes over medium-high heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Remove chicken from skillet.
- In same pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil and onions, pepper, and garlic. Cook for 8-10 or until pepper is tender.
- Add paprika and flour and cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and remaining salt and pepper to skillet and bring mixture to a boil.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in cream cheese and sour cream. Add noodles and chicken to pan and stir. Pour into a greased 9”x13” baking dish.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. While casserole is baking, toss bread crumbs and butter together in skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and parsley over casserole just before serving.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.