This recipe was born when we invited my in-laws for a Hungarian picnic. Traditionally, the protein part of the meal would be cold cuts: thinly sliced Hungarian paprika sausage or the famous Pick/Hertz winter salami. You can’t get those here, though, and substituting sugar-soaked ham was not an option for me. The other popular Hungarian custom for picnics is to take their big kettle and cook goulash, fish soup, bean stew or paprikash. I would be all for this, but I do not think it will make the California firefighters happy. The grass is so dry that you can light it up just by looking at it. I also had doubts that the picnic grounds would be happy to see some crazy Hungarian making a huge pot of goulash while burning their turf, and I definitely didn’t want to risk expulsion from the Marin Cheese Factory. Where would I get my healthy dose of Camembert? So under pressure, I threw together this recipe, with a very Hungarian result. It’s maybe best served warm, but kept cool in the picnic basket, it makes a great sandwich filling.
Hungarian Vegetable Chicken
This is a rustic dish and it can be altered as you wish. If you are crazy, you can skip the bacon and go for vegetable oil. It will still be good.
Feeds 4 people.
- 2 pounds boneless chicken (preferably dark meat)
- 3 wax peppers (Anaheim)
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 strip smoked bacon
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tsp paprika
- 1 cup red wine
- pepper to taste
- Cut the chicken into 1 inch strips or cubes. Dice the bacon and the onions. Mince the garlic, slice the pepper and the tomatoes into circles.
- Start frying the bacon on medium high heat to render some fat, then add the onions.
- When onions are translucent or even caramelized (burned) on the edges add the chicken cook on all sides (5-6min) and then add the peppers and the pepper and paprika.
- When peppers start to shrivel (7-15 min), add the garlic and tomatoes. Toss together and cook for 7 more minutes (do not burn the garlic).
- Add the wine and lower the heat. Simmer until the liquid evaporates and the mixture thickens.