RECIPE #302, DAY #501
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Chicken (or Pork) Paprikash” from my old blog, RealisticChef*
TIMING: 30 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Easy enough, with the right cut of meat
TOOLS: A nice, big saute pan and some tongs
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: If you want a little white meat in your diet, there’s nothing wrong with crusting it with spices and cooking it up simply. I suppose you are using oil to give it a pan-fry, but it’s not too over-the-top. Served with the requisite Mamaliga (see following recipe and read “polenta”), you also have whole grain. Just add veggies.
EXPERIENCE: Moldova, oh Moldova, oh how I love you (and your cuisine). And here we are again, on the night of the Moldovan-themed Supper Club, and this time I am serving the main course. One of our most memorable experiences in Moldova was stopping by a road-hugging hotel (which barely qualifies as more than a house with a restaurant in it) for dinner. Our group took up a long table and the servers brought out course after course of truly fresh and delicious food. Among them were large platters of pork or chicken paprikash, which you were supposed to eat with a slab of cut polenta, sour cream, and their local sheep’s milk cheese. (Okay, so everything was local.)
Did I mention everything was delicious? Including the meat. So when we got back to the states, I looked it up. And our recreation? Really good, as well. Turns out that Moldovans don’t make such a big fuss about food preparation, but they do you the finest ingredients by walking out to their yard-farms to get them.
NOTES: The paprikash (related to the word “paprika,” obviously) is meant to be served alongside Moldovan mamaliga, sour cream, and sheep’s milk cheese. You could, I suppose, serve it many other ways, including with a smoother polenta made with the cheese, or many other Eastern European things, like cabbage, egg noodles, dumplings, spaetzle, whatever.
This is an in-between sort of recipe, with the cook time coming it at 30 minutes, with a long saute and then a braise of sorts. I tried this recipe twice through because I forgot to take photos of it at the dinner and the guests cleared it out. I have to say that the longer-cooking pork meat (loin, here) held up better than the short-cooking meat (in this case, pork chop). I would stick with a pork stew meat or loin, just make sure to trim it nicely before cooking.
You are also welcome to use chicken, because Americans love chicken.
- In a saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons safflower oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add 3/4-1 pound bite-size pork (making sure it is dry and you are not crowding the pan) and brown for 5-6 minutes.
- Lower the heat a little and add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 tablespoon paprika (sweet or hot, to taste). Saute another 5 minutes, being careful not to scorch the garlic.
- Stir in 1/2 cup water, bring to boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water has almost completely evaporated and meat is cooked through.
Serve with Mamaliga (see recipe), sour cream, and sheep’s milk cheese, as well as a vegetable, like dilled cabbage. Bull’s Blood wine pairs nicely, as well.
*Recipe changed from the original.