‘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.
This blog is delightful! We made the paprika hendl for Chirstmas dinner yesterday except, because we are vegetarian, we substituted tofu for the chicken. I’m not an expert cook and this recipe was fun because it really expanded my horizons – I learned about “sere,” “au sec” and “deglaze”. I’ve also never cooked anything with wine before and thought flour was only for making gravy. Because I was figuring out all this new stuff, I was kinda trepidatious about how the dish would turn out, but it ended up looking great and tasting delicious. I think next time, I will leave the potatoes in just because I prefer them more well done.
Thank you so much for sharing your talent with this recipe, and for writing up directions thorough enough for inexpert cooks to follow. You brought a lovely dash of Halloween to our December festivities.
The whole concept of creating recipes for fictitious dishes is brilliant. Subscribed! I’ll be pouring over the rests of the blog looking for dishes that can be converted to vegetarian.
If you’re ever looking for more vampire-inspired fiction recipes, TRAVELING WITH THE DEAD by Barbara Hambly has scrumptious descriptions of tea time in Paris and dinner in Vienna. Also a very well written book that any vampire aficianado would enjoy. I love this author; she uses words like a paintbrush.
Good luck in your culinary and literary adventures! Happy holidays to you.
Happy New Year and thanks so much for very kind comment! We’ve actually made veggie versions of several of the recipes – I particularly love pasta e fagioli without the bacon and with veg stock in place of the chicken bouillon. Also, Oliver Twist’s gruel is one of my absolute favorite dishes and completely vegetarian. Please give them a try and let us know how it goes! Also, thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll definitely check it out!
My wife is vegetarian so we couldn’t include chicken and tofu, while either Hungarian nor meat, made a really interesting replacement that went perfectly well over mashed potatoes. We did find that two bricks of tofu disappears into the sauce and the amount of food produced by this recipe is surprising. We have so far fed seven people with enough left over for at least another four (or leftovers for two for a couple days). Thank you so much for an amazing Christmas dinner.
Hi John, Many thanks for your lovely comment! I’m so glad you and your wife enjoyed the paprika hendl recipe, and we’re honored that you made it for Christmas dinner. It’s great that you made it with tofu – I’m going to try that substitution this week. And you’re totally right, the recipe does make a lot of food – we’re big eaters over here 😉
Hi, this is a rather stupid question, but:
May I ask what you do with the chicken skin and why you need to take care not to rip it? If you’re throwing it out, it would seem foolish to be so careful to not rip it, but it lacks any further instruction as what to do with it. The only solution I could think of is that you were being careful in order to make it less of a hassle, but I still wanted to ask to be sure.
Thank you for your time!