Nupshugahr Chicken Paprikash (Sunshine Chicken)
by Christa Upton
Raw ingredients for Chicken Paprikash
Recipe 19 in the Solar Hot Pot
Nupshugahr Chicken Paprikash
Nupshu-what? you may be asking. Glad you asked! LOL The actual spelling is napsugar, but I spelled it phonetically so you could “hear” it in your head. Napsugar is the Hungarian word for “sunshine.” (Oh, and paprikash is actually spelled “paprikas.” But in Hungarian, the “s” has an “sh” sound.) And it’s sort of weird to mix Hungarian and the English “Chicken,” but then I’ve never been known to be “normal”....
Anyway, I’m half Hungarian and wanted to do a Hungarian meal today.
Old-world Hungarian meets environmentally friendly solar cooking technology!
I am nervous, because I am sure this will not live up to how wonderful my Grandma’s was! But I’ll try anyway, because it is so yummy that it will still taste good even if not as good as Grandma’s.
10:00 am—4 T butter: cut in pieces and put in Hot Pot, cover, set up facing the sun, set timer for 30 minutes.
(More authentic would be to use lard or even chicken fat!)
Then prep by mincing two medium onions.
10:30 am—onions: quickly stir into butter, cover, set timer for 60 minutes.
Then prep (close to 11:30):
1 large, ripe tomato (peel and chop)
1 large sweet pepper (slice) (usually Grandma used green pepper, but we are using a sweet red pepper today)
3 lb. bone-in chicken (cut up and take the skin off)
2 T paprika (Hungarian paprika of course! LOL We love Szeged, and the tins are even pretty!) (sprinkle over chicken)
1 t. salt (sprinkle over chicken)
This time we want more of a “braised” method for cooking the chicken (rather than “roasted,”) so that is why we took the skin off. And, we ended up putting the chicken in the Pot “skin side” down (or where the skin used to be LOL) to try to keep it from drying out on top. We also kind of pushed the chicken down into the onions and scooped some onions up on top. We’ll keep an eye on it; we may need to add a little water later.
11:30 am—chicken, veggies, and seasonings: add, put in baking rack and thermometer like this:
The baking rack holds up the thermometer for easy reading.
Cover, adjust to sun, set timer for 60 minutes. OR if you have a second Hot Pot like we do, set the timer for 30 minutes to start pasta water in the second Pot!
(12:00 pm—4 c. water: put in second Hot Pot, cover, set up facing the sun, set timer for 30 minutes.)
12:30 pm—adjust to sun, set timer for 60 minutes.
1:30 pm—check temp—should be at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety. (If not, use alternate, hotter heat source to bring up to temp.) If at least 150, adjust to sun (both pots), set timer for 90 minutes.
If you notice that any chicken is sticking out and possibly drying out, push it down into the liquid and/or turn it over, and add HOT water if needed. We ended up adding about 1/4 c. of hot water.
3:00 pm—check temp. If at least 150, adjust to sun, set timer for 60 minutes (or 30 minutes if you want to be reminded to cook your pasta early....)
3:30 pm—put your pasta (& salt) in to cook, if your water is boiling. We are planning to cook the pasta early because we weren’t sure it would get done later with the sun lower.
Later...well.... We noticed the water was boiling pretty rapidly at 2:30, but when we checked at 3:30, it was barely boiling and didn’t give great confidence for anything besides weird-textured cooked pasta. So apparently we had the right idea to cook the pasta early, just didn’t do it early enough. LOL So we cooked the pasta indoors, but we left the hot water in the Hot Pot—to use to wash dishes after supper! We still got good use out of that hot water. (smile) And at 6:15 pm, it was still very hot!
I don’t know if pasta started at 2:30 would last well all the way until supper, so if you have a second Hot Pot, maybe you want to use it to make dessert instead. LOL Or maybe you can eat an early supper (and start the Paprikas earlier). But I’ll still include the ideas I had planned to follow below anyway.
Drain pasta and toss with butter. (Save your pasta water to make soup later or to water your flower beds!)
Then, put the pasta back into the Hot Pot (with plenty of butter to keep it from drying out) and cover to keep warm. Watch to make sure it doesn’t look like it’s getting dry or charred. Maybe good to aim it AWAY from the sun to keep it from getting too hot/cooking more.
4:30 pm—check temp. If at least 150, you can let it coast until a later suppertime like we like to do. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure the chicken is cooked through! It needs to be about 165 degrees Fahrenheit internally (if there’s any doubt whether the chicken is done, insert meat thermometer into thickest piece of chicken to check).
Serve Paprikas over pasta or Hungarian dumplings, with sour cream that people can stir into their own bowls.
(If you want it fancy, take the chicken off the bone before serving. I would leave the juices and veggies in the Pot with the lid closed, take the chicken off the bone, and then stir it back into the juices.)
We requested this every summer when we’d come to visit because we loved it so much, but Grandma used to laugh and say it was only a peasant dish. So, eat up, peasants! LOL
(This post written in honor of my Grandma, 1917-2010. She was a REAL lady, a lovely person who always spread sunshine and kindness to all she met. And in honor of my other Grandma, 1910-1995, who was ALSO a real lady, and one of the first to welcome my immigrant-Grandma to town! I hope I can be as good a person as they were.)