As a foodie who tries to eat well, I’m often confounded by the challenges of putting something tasty, tempting and healthy on the table when it’s twenty degrees outside. My default cravings lean toward creamy, cheesy and carb-y…..all delicious….but pound-packing, butt plumping and artery clogging. SIGH.
There are many evenings when seared tilapia, quinoa and a salad are on the menu; but once in a while I just NEED those cozy comfort foods. While I know better than to mess with my three-cheese mac and cheese (there would be mutiny around the dinner table), I do look for other recipes that can be modified without sacrificing satisfaction and flavor.
My lite and delicious chicken paprikash is a perfect example. I haven’t done a fat and calorie analysis; but I’m certain the modifications I’ve made have significantly lightened the dish without sacrificing flavor. Most old fashioned paprikash recipes call for “chicken with bones on” as my daughter used to call it (meaning chicken that hasn’t been de-boned). It also calls for leaving the fatty skin on the chicken and finishing the dish with up to a cup of full-fat sour cream. Then, this luscious, velvety concoction is typically served over egg noodles – which turn to pure sugar about ten minutes into the digestive process.
This recipe substitutes boneless breasts, lite sour cream and whole wheat egg noodles. The end result is a rich and flavorful comfort food meal that won’t leave you feeling like you need to make an extra trip to the gym. I’ve also made a couple seasoning substitutions that I think make for a much more complex flavor. Most paprikash recipes suggest sweet Hungarian paprika. I’ve subbed half of that Hungarian for smoked Spanish paprika and added just a touch of cayenne pepper….delish!
And did you know that paprika is absolutely packed with vitamin C which can help you absorb iron-rich foods and fight infections?
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper
- 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup lite sour cream
- Cut chicken into 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (Smaller pieces will prevent tough chicken)
- Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken in batches to ensure browning not steaming.
- Transfer chicken to a shallow bowl.
- Add onion and garlic to pot and sauté, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.
- Add paprika and stir in tomato sauce and stock.
- Simmer for 15 minutes, allowing sauce to thicken and flavors to develop.
- Add chicken pieces and simmer on very low for another 15 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Transfer 1 cup sauce to a bowl and whisk in sour cream, then stir mixture into remaining sauce in pot. Adding sour cream directly to the pot will cause the sauce to break.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.