Chicken and paprika a tasty combination

Apr. 20—Last Saturday night, for the first time since March 2020, I had dinner inside a restaurant. My stepdaughter, who is bicoastal (spends two weeks in Boston and the other at her home in San Francisco), drove down and we had dinner at Water Street Café.

My friend Amy is chefing there while owner/chef Walter Houlihan rehabs from a broken leg, Walter’s wife, Stephanie, was hostessing. Mike, one of my favorite waiters in the whole world, took care of the two of us. I teared up to see them again.

I have lots of friends who will not eat inside a restaurant yet, and maybe never will. But I feel safe enough and want so much to help my restaurant owners and waitstaff friends. I am not sure any organization has suffered as financially during the pandemic.

For the next few weeks, though, it is back to cooking in my own kitchen. I looked through my pantry and freezer and remembered that my husband used to make chicken paprikash. I looked for his recipe among my columns but, alas, I’d never written about it.

I went onto the Internet and found a recipe that looked just like his. While this one is for the slow-cooker, he used to make it in a big Le Creuset lidded pot. If you make in the Instant Pot, use the “saute” button to saute the chicken, onions and spices; add the broth and pressure cook it for about 20 minutes. Reduce the liquid at the end on “saute.”

Slow-Cooker Creamy Chicken Paprikash

Adapted from

Serves 4 to 6

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

4 chicken drumsticks

4 chicken breasts

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon olive oil

2 medium onions, halved and cut into 1/4 -inch slices

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) or 1 habanero chile, seeded

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

1 cup sour cream

Spray large slow cooker with cooking spray.

Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Place chicken skin-side down in skillet. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until brown on both sides. Transfer chicken to slow cooker.

In the skillet on medium heat, add onions and cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, paprika, red pepper and rest of the salt and pepper; continue to cook and stir for about 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker. Add chicken broth to skillet, scraping any brown bits on bottom of skillet. Transfer to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or until juice of chicken is clear when thickest part is cut to the bone (at least 165 degrees). Transfer chicken to serving platter and keep warm. Increase slow cooker to high.

In a small bowl, beat cornstarch and water with whisk until smooth. Beat into cooking liquid in slow cooker. Cover; cook about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Beat sour cream into cooking liquid with whisk. Cover; cook about 5 minutes, until hot.

Serve chicken and sauce over buttered noodles.

On the Side

I was in the mood to try The Day’s survey on the best pizza in the area. Sad to say, it closes on Mondays. Maybe next week.

But I wanted the “best” something, anything, I thought. So, after I stopped to buy kitty litter and tomatoes, I remembered the incredible grinders at Hartford Giant Grinders in Niantic. I love this place, but its “restaurant,” a couple of tables and a tiny counter located off Hope Street, is not often on my radar, but it should be on mine and yours, too.

The bread is outrageously good, the vegetables fresh as can be and the meat ones (plus my favorite, the tuna) remind me of the ones I used to get at the great, late Bennie’s in Ivoryton. Put Hartford on your GPS’s “favorite.”

Hartford Giant Grinders

8 Hope St., Niantic

(860) 739-3181

Lee White lives in Groton. She can be reached at [email protected]