Although you could make this year-round with canned tomatoes (that you hopefully did yourself!), pileći paprikaš is a great dish to make when those big, juicy tomatoes pop up at your local farmers market–and really that’s the only time I tend to make it. More commonly found in continental Croatia, which was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian empire for many centuries, this dish is a present from Hungary. Köszönjük magyarok! There’s really no other way to put it. It’s simply delicious. Most often you’ll find it served with egg noodles, but gnocchi and mashed potatoes (my favorite) work, as well.
- chicken breast (about 800 grams)
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 cup of oyster mushrooms, diced
- 2 tsp Vegeta, plus more to taste (optional) – a Croatian seasoning found in many gourmet stores, Polish or other Eastern-European shops, and some supermarkets
- 1 tsp hot paprika, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- salt and pepper
- sour cream
- white wine, such as this Kapistran from Iločki podrum
- egg noodles, gnocchi, or mashed potatoes
Prepare the chicken. If on the thicker side, cut each breast in half (and/or pound to tenderize), then season with salt and pepper and brown in a large pan. Remove and place off to the side.
In the same pan, add the onion. Once they have started to caramelize, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or two before adding in the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have cooked for about five minutes, return the chicken to the pan. Next add the tomatoes. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how long it takes for them to release their juices. Next, add about 4-6 cups of water or as much as is needed to cover the chicken. Mix in the vegeta, paprika (both hot and sweet) and a few tablespoons of the wine. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference.
Cook for about twenty minutes, then remove the chicken once again. Add in about 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream, whisking fast to incorporate well. Return the chicken to the pan and then cook for an additional ten minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or gnocchi. Enjoy!