Old world recipes can be very difficult to pass on from generation to generation. Back in the day, recipes were not written down and made from memory. Since they weren’t written down, you just add a little of this and a little of that until you get the “right consistency” and if not you add a little more of this and that.
As I grew older and took interest in cooking, I wanted to learn from my Grandmas how to cook their traditional meals. I didn’t want to see these recipes lost forever. Funny thing, as I look back it seemed like some recipes were a big family secret.
Today I made one of my favorite main Czech dishes and transcribed the recipe with measurements. Measurements are a bonus because some of the old cook books that my Grandma owned listed ingredients without measurements. I think you were just supposed to know what to do!
This recipe is so easy and the gravy is absolutely delicious! Gravy always seemed to be so daunting to make from scratch…but really it is easy!
Czech Chicken Paprika
- 2 TB cooking oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 pieces of chicken (breast & thighs with skin on)
- 8 cups of water
- 2 TB paprika
- S & P
Chicken Paprika Gravy
- 1 cup flour
- ¾ cup water
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 TB paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add cooking oil and onions over high heat. Cook until the onion softens. In the meanwhile, salt and pepper chicken pieces. Place in the pot, skin side down. Cook until the skin is browned scraping the bottom of the pot, then flip and brown the other side. Add 8 cups of water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Cook chicken in boiling water for one hour. Reduce the heat, transfer chicken to a platter and strain the juice. (I use a slotted spoon to get little pieces out)
For the gravy, whisk flour and water in a small mixing bowl, getting all of the lumps out. This will create a paste. Whisk the paste into the large pot of chicken juices, constantly whisking until the gravy comes to a boil and it will slightly thicken. Add sour cream, continuing to whisk to get any lumps out. Then season with paprika and salt. Let gravy simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Place the chicken back in the pot to heat through.
Serve chicken pieces on a large platter with a gravy boat filled with hot gravy. Traditionally this would be served with dumpling. But it is also delicious with egg noodles.
Tonight, I made a dinner that I haven’t had since my Mom made this when I was a kid. I just remember her telling me that it is a traditional Polish dish and my grandma used to make it. Well, since I had a surplus of green bell peppers from the U-Pick farm, I thought I would give it a try. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make and how tasty it turned out!
Stuffed Bell Peppers
4 large green bell peppers (6 medium – small peppers)
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
Pre-heat oven to 350° and coat a casserole or deep baking dish with non-stick spray. Mix the raw ground beef, rice, egg, onion, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut the tops of the peppers off and remove the seeds. Fill each pepper with the meat mixture and place upright in the baking dish. Top the peppers with tomato sauce and pour some at the bottom of the dish. Add about 1/4 C water at the bottom of dish. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for about 1 hour until the meat is cooked thoroughly. (I cut into the largest pepper to ensure the meat was cooked, if not, cover and bake longer.)
Traditionally, the peppers are served with noodles, dumplings or potatoes. I served mine over white rice with a scoop of the tomato sauce from the bottom of the baking dish.