Chicken paprikash is easy, classic comfort food, perfect on a chilly winter’s day. It isn’t low-calorie, especially when served over a generous helping of noodles, but it’s definitely tasty. The Boy spent some time in Hungary when he was younger and loves paprika, so this also gives him his fix. Typically chicken paprikash is full of onions, wheat flour, and lactose, and is served with wheat noodles or dumplings, but this version is gluten-free and low-FODMAP. It also contains somewhat more in the way of vegetables than the typical version, but not so much that my kids complain.
Not all versions of chicken paprikash contain tomatoes, and you don’t want this to turn into a chicken cacciatore, but I find using a modest quantity of tomatoes provides a nutritional boost and a pleasant but not overwhelmingly tomato-y taste. However, I find that too much insoluble fibre, such as that found in tomato skins, bothers my gut, so I tend to peel tomatoes. Besides, it makes cooked dishes with tomatoes more pleasant not to have hard, curled-up bits of tomato skin in them. Furthermore, this technique means I don’t have to use BPA-filled canned/tinned tomatoes.
Peeling fresh tomatoes isn’t nearly as hard or as time-consuming as it sounds, not if you use a simple trick. I don’t remember exactly how I learned this one, but now you too can have peeled tomatoes quickly. Here’s how.
- About 2 lbs (900 g) chicken thighs and drumsticks
- Pat of butter
- 2-3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken broth (you can substitute water in a pinch)
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian, plus more to add later if necessary
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons sorghum flour, plus more to add later if necessary
- 200 g lactose-free cream cheese (I use Lactofree Soft White Cheese) or sour cream
- Handful fresh parsley, minced (optional)
- Gluten-free pasta, cooked according to package directions
- Remove excess fat and dangly bits of skin from chicken thighs, but don’t remove all the skin. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large frying pan or wok on high heat and sear the chicken thighs and drumsticks with a pat of butter until well-browned all over but not cooked through. Set aside. Note the picture below was taken before the chicken was as well-browned as I like.
- Without washing frying pan, briefly stir-fry peppers and tomatoes on high heat until the peppers too are slightly browned and the tomatoes are slightly softened. Set aside.
- Put the chicken broth (or water) in the still-unwashed frying pan or wok and scrape up the browned bits into it. Stir in the paprika, smoked paprika (if using), cayenne pepper (if using), salt and pepper. Heat to boiling, then turn down to medium-low heat. Sprinkle sorghum flour evenly across the surface and stir in well. I find that with sorghum flour, unlike most other flours and thickeners, there is no need to dissolve in cold water first – stir reasonably well and you will end up with a lump-free sauce.
- Return the chicken to the pan and simmer on medium-low heat, turning at least once, until the chicken is tender and cooked through and some of the liquid has evaporated. This will take at least about 15 minutes, though if you want more tender chicken and a thicker sauce, it won’t do any harm to simmer longer.
- Add the peppers and tomatoes and stir into the sauce. Don’t worry about cooking them – they will end up heating up and cooking a little more while you’re on the next step. Ideally you will end up with peppers that are a little tender and a little firm, and chopped tomatoes that still have substance instead of entirely dissolving into the sauce.
- Stir in the soft white cheese or sour cream. Taste and make adjustments if necessary – if you like, you can add more paprika, more salt, more pepper, more sorghum flour if you want the sauce thicker.
- Serve over cooked gluten-free pasta with a sprinkle of chopped parsley (optional). Yum!