Having to give up real sour cream meant no more paprikash — which is probably my favorite way to enjoy meat — with nothing but onion, a decent browning, and a blanket of Hungarian paprika cut with sour cream. Thank goodness for Green Valley Organics Lactose-free Sour Cream. Real organic sour cream, just without the lactose. Fabulous. They have brought paprikash back to me.
That aside, paprikash couldn’t be simpler or more foolproof. Like goulash, it is heavy peasant food for cold winter nights and I like to believe that my intense craving for it is caused by the same genetic memory of Eastern Europe that makes me melt down whenever the temperature outside exceeds 75 degrees.
I used Sara Mann’s recipe from the New York Times, circa about 1980, but I made my own adjustments. After all, this recipe used to be one of my most popular before the lactose problem came to light.
4 meaty chicken breasts, split but leave bone on (skin is optional)
A couple of good-sized yellow onions, chopped to yield 2 to 4 cups
2 or 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of lactose-free sour cream
Several heaping tablespoons from a fresh can of Hungarian paprika
A pound of wide egg noodles — fresh if you can get them
Split your chicken breasts, rinse them, lightly salt them and set aside.
Sauté the onions in olive oil until they are soft but not yet browning. Add the chicken to the skillet and brown it on both sides on a moderate heat. Add paprika, salt and pepper — blanketing the chicken thickly with the paprika. This is at your discretion. I like a lot of paprika! My mother says to add about 4 tablespoons but I know I add more. Pour broth enough to cover the chicken and cover the pan, cooking at a very low heat for 1-2 hours or until the chicken is thoroughly red and coming off the bone.
Prepare your noodles.
Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and add sour cream to sauce, blending over a very low heat until sauce is smooth. Serve chicken breasts over noodles with sauce on top. Serve extra sauce on the side.