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Martha's paprikash

Serves 4

"Chicken paprikash became very popular in our household after my brother-in-law, Russ, brought his Hungarian wife to America for the first time," writes Judith Jones in "The Tenth Muse." Russ was her husband Evan's brother, she goes on to say, and had just won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Hungarian Revolution. Martha was the former Countess Sennyey. "Evan's daughters were entranced by her," writes Judith, "and soon dubbed the romantic couple Uncle Famous and the Baroness (which became the title of a delightful story that Evan wrote for Gourmet on our introduction to Hungarian cuisine)."

1 chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings with some breast meat attached, 2 breasts)
1 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
4 tablespoons chicken fat or chicken fat and butter
4 medium onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
Chicken broth (as needed)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sour cream
Pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, combine the chicken pieces, cold water to cover, and 1 teaspoon salt; set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the fat or fat and butter, and cook the onions, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Push onions aside and sprinkle in the paprika. Toast the paprika gently, stirring constantly, for less than 1 minute. Mix the paprika with the onions.

3. Tuck the chicken pieces into the pan with a little water clinging to them. Cover and cook the chicken, turning once, for 30 to 40 minutes. If the skillet is getting dry, add a little chicken broth.

4. Mix the cornstarch with the sour cream. Stir it into the chicken. Heat it without boiling, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and some pepper. Adapted from "Tenth Muse"


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