Like most people I have a regular list of meals that I prepare and fall back on, and at times the diet can get a tad boring. Add to the fact that I’m definitely carrying more weight than I should be, it’s time to dig out the recipe books. Lets mix it up a bit, and try to go healthy at the same time.
After browsing though several books, and online, and drooling over recipe pictures, I finally found one that I could settle on in The Hairy Dieters, How To Love Food and Lose weight, by Dave Myers ans Si King. Paprika Chicken. It’s their take on the Hungarian or Romanian dish Paprikash with a healthy twist. The picture looked enticing, and I had most of the ingredients in the house.
Now, when I say ‘most’, I have a confession to make. Himself says I never follow a recipe, I ‘fiddle’ with it, I prefer the term being creative. I do have the habit of adapting recipes to fit the ingredients that I have at hand. The recipe calls for skinless, boneless chicken thighs, but all I had was skinless breasts. It also called for 3 peppers, and I only had 2 left in the fridge. – Close enough, that will do.
Before I start a new recipe I tend to gather all the ingredients together and prepare them – slice/chop etc. Although this does mean using a few more dishes and containers to add to the washing up, it acts as a secondary check to make sure you have everything you need.
Using breasts rather than the thighs, I chopped each one into quite large chunks, sliced the onions (I white and 1 red, that’s all that was in the cupboard), and cut the 2 peppers that I had. All prepared, ready to go. I had to pop down the garden to get the bay leaves as I forgot that I didn’t have any in the house.
The recipe itself was clearly written and easy to follow.
To accompany the dish, I decided on plain boiled rice, again, a decision based on what was in the house.
End result was a meal that was both tasty and filling. I tried it both with and without the creme fraiche, and personally I could take it or leave it, so you could save a few pennies and calories by missing it out.
The recipe is designed for 6 people and I did cook to that quantity, even though I was only feeding 2 of us. The rest, when cooled, was portioned out, and frozen, for future use..
1 tbsp Olive oil or sunflower oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced
12 boneless chicken thighs (I used chicken breasts)
1 tbsp of smoked paprika
2 Garlic cloves peeled and chopped
400g can of chopped tomatoes
400 ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 large peppers, red , yellow and green
1 tbsp of cornflour
1 tbsp of cold water
6 tbsp half fat creme fraiche
Ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish and fry the onions over a medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes until soft and and lightly coloured, stirring regularly. Put the chicken on a board and cut away any visible fat. Cut each thigh in half, season with ground black pepper and add to the pan.
Cook the chicken with the onions for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly coloured on each side. Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook for one minute more. Tip the tomatoes into the pan, pour over the chicken stock and add the bay leaves and mixed herbs. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover the pan loosely with a lid and cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, cut the peppers in half and deseed. Cut them into chunky pieces, each about 3 cm. Add the peppers to the chicken and cook everything for another 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender.
Mix the cornflour and water together to make a smooth paste, stir this into the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is thick, stirring constantly
Serve the paprika chicken topped with a little half a fat crème fraîche.
Lovely with a small portion of rice or some mashed potatoes