We’re excited to share Stacy’s grandmother’s recipe for Hungarian Chicken & Dumplings- also called Chicken Paprikash, made gluten-free with nightshade-free options.
Stacy’s was very close with her Italian Grandmother, Rina, or Nonna to our boys. She taught Stacy to cook, who in turn taught me. Nonna was an extraordinary home cook. She could cook anything from pasta to pies and truly impressed anyone who ate at her house. It’s why we dedicated Beyond Bacon, our true ode to food, to her.
can we take a moment to note how adorable Stacy was as a child?
Even more impressive is how she mastered a multitude of cuisines. Her mother came to the US after being born and raised in Central Italy, so Italian foods were a core on the family table. But her husband was Hungarian, so she mastered his favorite dishes too. One of her specialties, and Stacy’s favorite of all her meals – always requested on her birthday – was Chicken Paprikash.
We learned how to make this from Nonna when Stacy and I moved in together nearly 20 years ago. Despite a written recipe and multiple tutorials we could never do her version justice… you know how it is. Then when we removed gluten and dairy from out diet it became a meal we didn’t think about for a while. But today marks 10 years since Stacy’s family suffered the loss of their beloved matriarch, so we’ve worked to recreate it with modifications for gluten-free (easily dairy-free) and enjoy along with her loving memories.
The one real problem with this dish for our family is the Hungarian Paprika Stacy cannot have because she avoids nightshades with her autoimmune conditions. The irony of growing up on tomato-rich Italian foods and Nonna adding paprika to everything! Rina swore by this brand. If you’re able, it elevates this dish incredibly. Nonna used mostly sweet and then by instinct would use a portion of hot, depending on who she was feeding. The paprika is what gives this dish it’s bright red color.
You’ll notice the herbs in this pictured version, that’s because for Stacy I’ve created a modified flavor profile. It’s still delicious, but not the authentic flavor of the paprika. If you cannot do nightshades, we’re sure you’ll love the flavor of the modified “chicken and dumplings”.
- 1/2 Cup tapioca flour
- 6-8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drum sticks
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
- 4 tbsp ghee or avocado oil (or fat of choice)
- 8 C Chicken Broth (using a portion as water is OK just less flavorful)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Hungarian Sweet Paprika (add a 1/2 Tbsp of Hot if you want more traditional) OR for nightshade-free use 1/2 Tbsp each of granulated garlic, ground mustard, and cumin
- 5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3 ribs celery, sliced
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 C Sour cream (we like Organic Valley lactose-free, but dairy-free would work too)
- GLUTEN FREE DUMPLINGS
- 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Flour
- 1 C chicken broth
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Dredge each chicken thigh in the tapioca flour and half of the salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 Tbsp ghee in large dutch oven over medium heat and add chicken, veggies, season with remaining salt, pepper and 1 tsp of the sweet paprika (reserve the reminder for later). Brown chicken thighs on both sides, skin side down first, for about 3 min each (until you see caramelization). Veggies should soften but not cook all the way through. You're just infusing flavor at this point.**
- Remove veggies, set aside, and pour broth over the chicken and using a wooden spatula de-glaze the pan with any chicken bits stuck to the bottom, toss in the bay leaves, increase heat to medium high. Bring the pot to the boil and then lower heat to simmer with the lid on for about half an hour. Prep the dumpling ingredients during this time - but don't make them yet (freshly dropped in is best).
- After the chicken has been cooking for about 30-45 minutes, until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone, add back the vegetables, remaining paprika to the soup and let it simmer on medium-high heat for a five minutes.
- While it is in the final simmer, make the dumplings: add the dry ingredients to a bowl, then add the eggs, chicken broth, mix well. This works best if you add 1/4 cup of broth at a time and work the dough with a fork to work out clumps without over beating the dough.
- The dumpling mixture will be thick and sticky, you can roll 1/2 Tbsp sized balls for traditional dumplings - but Nonna preferred to drop much smaller dollops straight from the spoon into the pot. Stacy thinks this tastes better, because it's what she grew up with, but the boys like bigger dumplings. Just make sure they're even sized to cook evenly.
- Cover the soup and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through and float to the top. Remove from heat.
- Temper the sour cream in a separate bowl with a ladle of broth, then pour it all into the pot, stir until melted into the broth. Serve hot, garnish with fresh herbs (chopped parsley recommended) if you didn't use paprika.
** technically you could use pre-cooked chicken, like rotisserie - but Nonna would roll over in her grave. If you like flavor, you MUST use bone-in, skin-on chicken to fully experience this dish. It won't add that much more time and is worth doing, I promise!
While Stacy misses the traditional paprika version of this dish, the herby alternative is still a reminder of her late grandmother. And the rest of us love it as well since it’s truly tasty.
Stacy with Nonna and her Hungarian grandfather, Art
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