My favorite date-night restaurant was the perfect place for the parents of young children to get away: a small café right in our own zip code. That meant we weren’t paying a babysitter for our drive time to the restaurant, and if there were ever an emergency, we were less than ten minutes from home. We enjoyed quite a few anniversary and Valentine’s Day dinners at Café Europa, and I always ordered the same thing. The Chicken Paprika was not a heavy, tomato-and-sour-cream-sauced dish; this sauce was lighter. The Romanian woman who owned the restaurant and created the recipes told me that she’d learned to make this dish from her grandmother.
The restaurant closed several years ago, and I’ve missed the Chicken Paprika, which was served over fresh spaetzle. I figured out how to make the chicken; the spaetzle will be a challenge for another day.
Romanian Chicken Paprika
Makes 4 servings
2 TBL olive oil
1 medium onion (8 oz), chopped
2 TBL butter
1 1/2 oz. flour (see note)
24 oz. boneless chicken breast
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
Cut chicken breast as desired. I slice it into strips for this dish, but you can leave it whole if you choose.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add butter; stir until butter melts.
Dredge chicken in flour. Move onions to the edges of the pan and cook chicken, turning once, until center is no longer pink. (You may need to do this in batches; don’t overcrowd the pan.) Remove to a plate and keep warm until all chicken is cooked.
Remove all chicken from the pan, leaving onions in place. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add a little flour to thicken, and stir in the paprika. The sauce should be pink. Return chicken to pan and turn until it is coated in the sauce.
Serve over noodles or spaetzle.
NOTE: The amount of flour noted is what was actually used. When dredging the chicken, extra flour makes the job easier. I used the Measurement by Subtraction technique to find out how much flour I used in this dish, for a more-accurate nutrition label.