First there was pork, and now chicken. What’s up with me and meat in the first place? Well, I think I somehow explained that phenomenon with Peking Pork. I just love eating pork, chicken and beef. Most of my comfort foods are meat-based dishes, so in a sense I feel safe and secure when I eat meat. Vegetables are still there, but only when I’m in the mood. Don’t give up on me just yet. In an hour or so I’ll go back to my regular ritual of running, so there.
Most days, I find myself staring at the pantry, looking at what’s inside as possibilities. But today I was stuck. This chicken dish was supposed to be swimming in artificial cream of chicken soup and salad macaroni if I had my way. But it didn’t feel right. It was around 11:00 am and I still couldn’t figure out what to make. All I knew was I had chicken pieces defrosting on the counter and no inspiration.
But I think I spoke too soon because a second after I resigned myself to canned pork and beans, I thought “Chicken Paprika”. The planets have aligned. Then things went like clock work. It was so easy, it just made sense. It only needed a few ingredients and practically three steps to finish. When the clock struck 12, the kitchen really smelled great.
The recipe called for butter, but I just used olive oil to cut down on the bad fat. I also went the extra mile and made gravy out of the oil and pan drippings! (Inspiration, you have knocked on my door again.)
One thing though: you can do so much with this dish. Next time I might stuff it with garlic again, or marinate the chicken with salt and vinegar for a while to make it even tastier. I might even use butter! But for now, I’ll enjoy this as it is. Simple and straight to the point. It’s oven fried chicken, yo!
Chicken Paprika (serves 6; adapted from The Best of FOOD Magazine)
- 1 kg chicken legs and thighs
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons iodized salt
- 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
- ½ tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- Olive oil to coat the bottom of the baking pan (you can use regular cooking oil)
For the gravy, start with:
- ½ cup water
- 2 – 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ – 1 chicken bouillon cube
- Freshly cracked pepper
- A dash of paprika
- Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. Drizzle enough olive oil in the baking pan to lightly coat the bottom.
- In a shallow dish, mix flour, salt, paprika, pepper and thyme.
- Coat the chicken pieces with flour mixture and arrange on the baking pan, skin side down. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Turn pieces over and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes or until tender and juices run clear. Serve with rice and gravy. Enjoy!
To make gravy:
- Deglaze the baking pan by adding ½ cup water.
- Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the “remnants” of the chicken. These will contribute to the overall flavor of the gravy.
- Add around 2 – 3 tablespoons flour.
- Mix and transfer to a small saucepan. Over low heat, add half a chicken bouillon cube, and freshly cracked pepper and more paprika to taste.
- Adjust consistency by adding more water or flour, to your preference.
- Mix well using a wooden spoon. When done, remove from heat and serve with the chicken. Enjoy!