Empty Fridge Dinner #1: Paprika Chicken

It’s been a crazy week… nay, a crazy few weeks… here at Chez Newman. In the last few days, I’ve been working on

  • a new class for ReneePearson.com (look for more exciting announcement stuff coming soon!),
  • two classes for Village Home (which are, I hope, going to be AWESOME),
  • a chunk of editing for a new Creating Keepsakes project,
  • the usual round of writing/editing/hosting for Quizissippi, and
  • general household chaos whilst a new bathroom is installed. (I have done virtually none of the actual work on this project, but you know how it is when your house is knee-deep in tools, workers and drywall dust.)

With a schedule like that, something’s got to give; and what’s given is mostly grocery shopping. So two nights ago, I looked into my refrigerator and was met with kind of a howling wasteland. A howling wasteland punctuated by sad little containers of past-their-prime leftovers, half-empty condiment bottles, a few sorry-looking beets and… what’s this? …a package of chicken thighs.

Armed with just a handful of stuff that’s always sitting around anyway, plus a pound of chicken thighs and half a cup of sour cream, I came up with the following. Served with steamed brown rice (tip: cook it in chicken or vegetable broth to boost the flavor) and sauteed zucchini, it made a tasty and substantial dinner.

If you have chicken breasts instead of thighs on hand, you could certainly use those; just cut the cooking time down accordingly and be careful not to overcook them. Ain’t nothing nasty like a dry ol’ stringy chicken breast. (This, along with their lower price, is why I almost always go for thighs over breasts.) (Hee hee.)

Paprika Chicken
Serves four

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup flour (I was out of all-purpose flour; how sad is that? Bread flour works fine too.)
1 to 2 Tbsp paprika, preferably Hungarian
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth or water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup sour cream

Combine the flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken lightly in the mixture. Preheat oven to a nice low temperature (150-200).

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped into it. Add chicken, without crowding, and cook until thoroughly browned on one side, about 5 minutes; turn and cook just until done. Remove to a plate and keep warm in oven.

If there is an inordinate amount of fat in the pan, pour some of it off. Return to medium heat; add broth/water, lemon juice and soy sauce. Stir vigorously to scrape up browned bits. Cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or two. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream. (You really will probably want a whisk for this; a spoon just doesn’t do the job properly. You could improvise with a fork if you were to find yourself whiskless.)

Serve chicken dressed nicely in a suit of sauce, possibly resting atop a bed of brown rice.

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About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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