‘I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.’
Photographer: Brian Ziegler
Years ago, the iPhone was introduced to the world. I decided to buy the Google phone instead. I think it would be dramatic to refer to this as the worst decision I ever made in my life, but yeah. It had no apps, a bad keyboard, and my music wouldn’t sync on it. But it did have the Kindle app. As I sat on the New York subway, I’d check through the list of books. Boring, boring, oh god no, not a chance… wait. Dracula! I read it on a ridiculously small screen, but I can still picture the woods and the castle.
The food reference in the book is a great one. Like most of Stoker’s writing, it’s very sensory – ‘very good but thirsty’. Paprika hendl is a very common dish in Hungary, but I’ve taken some liberties with it. I see it as a spicy chicken stew with a heavy dose of Hungarian paprika, so that’s exactly what I made. I add yellow bell peppers, so that the sweetness of the peppers plays off the spiciness of the dish. It is delicious and simple.
My dog goes crazy for this, so if you have a dog throw the maniac a few bites.
- 1 whole chicken
- 350 g chicken stock
- 200 g red wine
- 1 x 800 g tin whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 large onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 10 g Hungarian sweet paprika
- 15 g Hungarian hot paprika
- cayenne pepper
- 135 g cherry tomatoes
- 2 Yukon Gold or any waxy potato
- 27 g flour
- 1 tbsp butter
First, break down the chicken. Start by taking the wings off at the second joint and then skin the chicken. Do this by cutting down the length of the chicken back. Next work your fingers under the skin. Separate the chicken from the skin as you go taking care to not rip the skin.
Now pull the legs down and pop the hip socket out. Take your knife and scoop out the oyster, this is the best bite of the entire chicken, and cut at the thigh joint. Separate the thigh from the drumstick by cutting at the joint. Take the bone out of the chicken thigh and dice the thigh. Remove the wish bone. Next take your knife and make an incision down the center of the breasts to separate them. Follow the breast and rib bones with your knife separating the breast from the bones. Repeat with the other breast and dice both.
In a bowl season the chicken with the sweet and hot paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
Sear chicken to a nice golden brown.
As the chicken is browning, cut your vegetables. Mince the garlic. Large dice the onion and potatoes. Cut the peppers into strips, and halve your cherry tomatoes.
Once the chicken is browned remove from the pot and reserve. Deglaze the pan with your vegetables. Season with salt pepper and add your garlic at the end.
Add red wine and reduce to au sec (almost dry, but not burnt).
Take the tinned tomatoes and remove the whole tomatoes. Remove the cores and crush with your hands or a fork.
Remove the potatoes and add the flour to your vegetables. Stir frequently making sure the flour doesn’t get lumpy. When the flour is fully incorporated add the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil, add the tomatoes and chicken and simmer for 8 minutes.
Add the potatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until they're cooked through.
Serve with your favourite crusty bread.