After being asked by Templar to step in as a guest judge on the Sopel Chef Challenge, I had the image of creamy mushrooms dancing in my head. Dinner, therefore, was a no-brainer. It had to be rich, it had to be creamy, and it had to not devastate the healthy eating I've been trying to maintain. The solution? Chicken pörkölt - or my take on it, anyway.
There's a great deal of flavour packed into just a few simple ingredients. While egg noodles would probably be a more traditional accompaniment (galuska notwithstanding), I settled on rice as I already had some on hand. It doesn't take long to make this - if the minor amount of prep is done in advance, the dish cooks in the amount of time it takes to make a pot of jasmine rice: 15 -20 minutes.
Chicken Pörkölt1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, diced finely
2 cloves of garlic - minced or pressed
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1 cup defatted chicken stock (I used Organic "Better than Bouillon")
1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine)
3 teapoons hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
In a large, non-stick skillet, sautee the chicken in a tablespoon of olive oil until lightly browned. Add a little salt, and the onions, and sautee until the onions start to caramelize. Add the garlic, the cumin, and half of the paprika, and stir until chicken is evenly coated. If it is starting to stick, splash a little vermouth, white wine, or water - just a couple of tablespoons worth - into the pan to prevent the dish from burning. Add the mushrooms, and stir gently. Allow the mushrooms to cook down a little and pick up some colour.
After about five minutes of stirring, as the mushrooms give up their liquid and reduce in bulk, add the chicken stock. Allow the dish to come to a simmer, and reduce the heat. While it simmers, stir the remaining paprika and the cornstarch into the sour cream until it is all integrated. Stir the sour cream mixture into the bubbling chicken and mushrooms, and continue to stir until a thick, smooth, orange-tinged, creamy sauce develops. Turn heat to low, and add the green peppers. Allow to simmer for another couple of minutes. Taste, adjust for salt, and serve over rice, noodles, spaetzle, or galuska. Heck, even mashed potatoes!
Makes great leftovers for lunches the next day, too.