Friday, August 30, 2013

paprika chicken stroganoff with curly pasta

I bought a pack of curly pasta a few weeks ago. Well, on the package, it said, "Curly pasta" but upon checking, I think the correct term should be Cavatappi, which is a spiral tube shaped pasta with grooves on the outside surface of the pasta. They were just so cute, so I thought I might as well buy them first and think of what to make with them at a later date.

In the end, I decided to pair the pasta with a thick stroganoff sauce.

Stroganoff is traditionally made with beef and includes the addition of sour cream. It originated in Russia in the 19th-century and has become so popular that many, many versions now exist and look nothing like the original version.

I am making my stroganoff today with chicken and mushrooms.

I seasoned the chicken thighs which I had already cut into smaller pieces with some paprika, flour, salt and black pepper. I also sliced some brown button mushrooms.

In a heated skillet, I added a little extra virgin olive oil and pan fried the chicken in batches. There is no need to cook the chicken completely as they will finish cooking at a later stage. The aim here is go get some colour on the chicken. Once done, the chicken was placed on kitchen towels to drain and set aside.

Once the chicken was done, in the same pan I added the diced onions and mushrooms. I sauteed them until the onion had softened and become translucent, and the mushrooms were cooked down.

The minced garlic was added, and cooked for about a minute, and I added the chicken stock and tomato paste.

Once everything was combined, the chicken was returned into the pan, along with a bay leaf or two. This was simmered until the chicken was cooked through. The sauce should thicken slightly at the end as well.

I added the yoghurt (or sour cream if you have any) and stirred that into the sauce. I also added salt and coarsely grounded black pepper to taste.

At this stage, if you prefer a thicker sauce, add some corn flour slurry (1 tbs corn flour + 2 tbs cold water) and stir it into the sauce.

Let the sauce continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, and it is ready to be served.

I served this with the curly pasta, but really, any pasta or even rice will work!

Chicken Paprika Stroganoff With Curly Pasta (Serves 4)
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs or a combination of both, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbs sweet paprika or regular paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs olive oil, plus more as needed
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
300g brown button mushrooms or baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic,  finely minced
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 tbs tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plain yogurt, creme fraiche, or sour cream
500g hot, cooked pasta, for serving
2 stalks fresh, chopped parsley for garnish

1. In a medium bowl or shallow pie plate, toss the cubed chicken with the paprika, flour, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until golden brown on each side, tossing occasionally, about 5 minutes. The chicken will finish cooking fully a bit later so it doesn't need to be cooked all the way through. Scrape the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
3. Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan, if needed, and stir in the onions and mushrooms. Saute the mixture, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and the onions and mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
4. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and the bay leaf, stirring well.
5. Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the yogurt (or creme fraiche or sour cream) and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer.
6. If you would like the sauce to be a bit thicker, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the simmering mixture in the skillet, whisking quickly to combine.
7. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened.
8. Serve over hot pasta and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.