Admit it: Sometimes, you just can’t help but think of ways to make your meals more interesting. Because dining in restaurants and fast food chains can be unhealthy and costly, most people fall into the cycle of processed dinners like instant mac and cheese, pizza, and microwavable meals. So, why not try something new?
This one-pan paleo chicken paprikash recipe by Jennafer Ashley of PaleoHacks will add surely spice to your life, but takes less than an hour to make. Chicken paprikash or paprika csirke1 is a traditional Hungarian dish with a creamy tomato sauce that’s seasoned with paprika and is usually paired with spaetzle (tiny dumplings)2 or egg noodles.3 Instead of sour cream, this recipe uses coconut cream as a dairy-free alternative. If you’re too busy to whip up other dishes for the week, you can simply reheat this and have another hearty meal.
One-Pan Paleo Chicken Paprikash
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Serving Size: 4
- 2 teaspoons ghee, divided
- 2 pounds skinless, chicken thighs
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
Heat 1 teaspoon of ghee over medium heat in a cast iron skillet for two minutes. Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a skillet and cook for four minutes on both sides. Remove from the pan and set chicken aside on a plate.
Add the remaining teaspoon of ghee into the skillet and stir in the onion. Sauté for six minutes, and then add the garlic. Continue cooking for an additional minute.
Stir in the paprika, coconut cream and chicken stock, mixing well until fully blended. Add in the tomatoes and chicken thighs, and then let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Add plenty of sauce on top and garnish with parsley.
Spice Up Your Life With a Dash of Paprika
Paprika peppers are believed to have originated from Mexico, and were collected by Christopher Columbus on his expedition.4 Capsicum, the plant where paprika comes from, was first known as an ornamental and medicinal plant in Hungary during the 15th century. Because of the sunny climate and rich soil specifically in Hungary’s two main regions, the former floodplains of the Danube and Tisza rivers, high-quality paprika was produced in this country.5
Paprika is a commonly used spice in eastern European cuisine6 that gives dishes a rich aroma and a savory taste.7 Unlike what most people know, paprika isn’t necessarily spicy like ground cayenne pepper8 — it is generally sweet and mild, a variant used in this recipe. Other variants are smoked and hot paprika, which may be used if you prefer the dish to have a smoky flavor or a spicy kick.9
Alternatively, you may use paprika as a garnish, which will only add color to the dish if it is not heated, as this spice releases flavor when it interacts with heat.10 Aside from adding a savory flavor or spicy flair to a dish, paprika may also help improve your overall health by:
- Inhibiting insulin resistance — A 2013 study found that paprika pigments, which contain large amounts of carotenoids such as capsanthin and capsorubin, help restrain obesity-related insulin resistance.11
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases — Through its antitumor properties, paprika helps suppress the growth of tumor cells.12 Another study found that it has multidrug resistance properties that may help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.13
- Lessening the risk of heart complications — As found by a 2009 study, paprika’s capsanthin content helps boost HDL levels,14 which get rid of bad cholesterol, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease.15
Additionally, paprika is a good source of vitamin A, folate, beta-carotene and vitamin C.16
In fact, Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Hungarian scientist, found in his research that paprika contains vitamin C — a discovery that contributed to his Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1937.17
8 Tips in Preparing and Cooking Chicken Paprikash
Paprikash is one of the delicacies of Hungarian cuisine, together with stews like goulash, pörkölt and tokany.18 To help you achieve the taste of this authentic Hungarian dish while ensuring that you’re serving a healthy meal, here are a few preparation and cooking tips to remember:
- Buy organic tomatoes to ensure that they’re of high quality, as they have more vitamin C and a higher phenolic compound content.19
- Avoid buying canned tomato products because they may contain bisphenol A (BPA),20 a chemical that may increase your risk of various health conditions such as infertility, breast and prostate cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and early puberty.21 The acidity of the tomato causes the BPA in the can lining to leach into the food.
- It is important to consume tomatoes with healthy fat such as ghee, which is used in this recipe, because lycopene in tomatoes is fat-soluble. When mixed with fat, this carotenoid may be absorbed better and may easily pass through the intestine.22
- Choose organic, pasture-raised chickens instead of chickens raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), to reduce your risk of salmonella or antibiotic-resistant infection23 and to help you gain healthier fats and vitamins.
- Wash your hands before and after handling raw chicken. Also, wash your utensils after being used and use a separate cutting board for raw meats.24
- When buying paprika, take note that the sweet variety is usually labeled “mild paprika.”25
- Remember to choose a dark-colored airtight container when storing paprika and use or replace it within six months. Ground spices like paprika usually lose their flavor the longer they’re stored.26
- When buying ghee, look for the organic kind to ensure that it is antibiotic-free. You can also make homemade ghee using organic, grass fed butter.
Give Paprika a Space on Your Spice Rack
If you aren’t used to using paprika in your dishes because you may think that it is just similar to cayenne pepper and chili powder, this recipe will certainly give you a grasp of both of its culinary use and health wonders. If you are looking for more dishes that use paprika, you may check these: Salmon Supreme Recipe, Homemade Chicken Nuggets Recipe or Low Carb Bacon and Cheese Muffins Recipe.
PaleoHacks is a top source for amazing Paleo recipes, fitness tips and wellness advice to help you live life to the fullest. If you have questions regarding the Paleo diet in general, PaleoHacks may provide you with the answers that you may need.
+ Sources and References