It has been a while since I have talked about the characters from my horror novel Evil Lives After. Sam Sadlowski is one of three founding members of the BPCS, the Bethberg Paranormal Consulting Society, a ghost and supernatural investigation group, that is central to my book.
Sam is a retired homicide detective and an avid cook. But he doesn’t do any of “that high-class stuff served on a plate too large and a portion too small,” as he would say. A proud descendant of Polish and Hungarians, he loved the peasant food he grew up with. He loves hearty food and plenty of it.
One of his favorite foods was a meal his mother made often when he was growing up. Here is his version of Chicken Paprikash:
(Photo By Liz French, 2016)
2 pounds chicken, either breast or thighs
2 green bell peppers
2 large onions
1 pound button mushrooms
1 can crushed tomatoes
paprika — regular or hot depending on the level of desired heat
fresh ground black pepper
pinch of salt (optional)
either dumplings or wide noodles
Use a large dutch oven, preferably of cast iron.
Boil the chicken for a few minutes to begin the cooking process, then transfer to the dutch oven that has a hot layer of cooking oil in it that has been heavily coated with paprika, so that the oil looks red. Be sure to pat the chicken dry first with a paper towel to avoid oil splattering.
While the chicken is searing, on both sides, chop the peppers and onions. Clean the mushrooms with cold water and a paper towel.
After the chicken is seared, turn the heat to low or simmer.
Add the peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
Add the seasoning.
Add the crushed tomatoes.
Add two-four tablespoons sour cream, and mix completely.
Let simmer in the dutch oven for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours.
Cook the noodles or dumplings.
Serve over noodles or dumplings in a large bowl.
Slick thick pieces of good bread to place on the side.
Sam prefers to drink Hungarian red wine: egri bikaver, which translates loosely as “bull’s blood” with the meal.
If you enjoy hearty meals, give this a try. You will probably enjoy Sam’s recipe.