“Waiter? There is too much pepper on my paprikash.”

Saturday was just one of those days. We hit up the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market and walked around the town while there, sharing some great conversation and the winter chill that was starting to show signs of thawing. Before heading home, we diverted our attention to a Lowe’s trip – which turned out to take more time than expected, all the projects we’ve got bubbling in our heads dying to finally get performed. I ended up with a good handful of ideas to share with you folks here, which is always a good feeling.

Dave mentioned to me that one of his co-workers had commented (in a good way!) about my food posts, so as a shout-out to her, I decided to share what I made for dinner. Hope it’s as appealing to y’all as it was to eat!

We had some all-natural (not organic, sigh) chicken from Hannaford and a pound of parsnips to use up, so after perusing my stand-by cookbooks, I decided to make chicken paprikash and roasted parsnips. This is sort of an ode to one of our favorite movies/running jokes – Billy Crystal, anyone? 😀

I got down to prepping the parsnips. All they really need is a peeling, rinsing, and chopping into 3-inch pieces. (A horizontal peeler is PERFECT for this. Way easier than a vertical one. Highly suggested.) If you’ve never tried them, DO! They’re sweet and a little zingy (like a carrot with fizz…?), and even while I smell them raw, I think to myself, “This should be made into a soda flavor.” Ew, I know, but still…I’d try it!
Oh, yes. Beardslee decided to provide moral support from a nearby barstool. I’ve never known him to jump up here (and nap?!), so I’m chalking it up to Winston influence. Either way, thanks for the help, bud.

I threw in half a thinly-sliced onion and a couple of chopped garlic cloves for some additional flavor. You could do an entire onion, but I wasn’t sure how it’d come out. As it was, the onion got VERY crispy, but deliciously sweet.

Then, a sprinkling of dried oregano, sea salt and pepper, along with a drizzling of 2 tbsp. olive oil – and, as Ina Garten would say, “Clean hands” to mix it up.

By the way, the way to keep a man – and ensure peace in the house? Buy this stuff. For whatever reason, Dave’s a pepper guy, and after we bought this pepper mill (which grinds 4, count ’em 4 different types of peppercorns), he’d beg to buy it again when we were out. It ain’t necessarily cheap, but if it’ll keep him happy, I’m game! And, I’ll give him that – it is pretty tasty.

This is the cookbook that I used for guidance as far as the roasted turnips were concerned. The paprikash (again, more for guidance than exact recipe) was from my FAVORITE, Food to Live By. It’s where my go-to chili recipe came from, among others. I foresee cooking the paprikash time and time again, too.

 Speaking of paprikash, let’s get started! A couple of tablespoons of butter; ditto on the olive oil – medium heat.

…while the parsnips roast at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (depends on how you like them done).

And, for those of you who don’t know what paprikash is (I didn’t when I started this fiasco), it’s a Hungarian dish that generally uses sweet and hot Hungarian paprika. Of course, I just had the generic stuff sitting around the house, so I was concerned about flavor. I shouldn’t have been. Here, I’ve seasoned it with a generous dose of paprika, a sprinkling of oregano, and salt ‘n pepper.

I put it in skin-down so that I could season the other side properly.

And, now, while the chicken cooks… Oh, hello, gorgeous onion. I see you brought along your close friends, garlic cloves. I hope you don’t mind my dicing you…

Mwahaha…the brutality of it. Oh, and these were much smaller in “real life” – Dave’s not a fan of cooked onion, so I dice/mince it so that it practically melts in. He was none the wiser. 😉

Now, I’ll admit that it SEEMS the chicken got too dark. But, actually, it didn’t make a darn bit of difference. I cooked both sides for a good 5 minutes, then added more cooking time (at a lower heat) at the end, practically braising them. The actual recipe called for cutting chicken pieces up in thin strips, so I had to ad lib.

Check-in on the parsnips. Still looking pretty pasty, like me. Soon enough.

Back to the chicken. After both sides have browned sufficiently, pull those suckers out…

 …and throw in the onion. Cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes.

Then, add 2 tbsp. tomato paste and the garlic, stirring constantly while it cooks together, about a minute.


 Here’s what it’ll look like…

Then, add 2 cups of chicken stock. We use free-range organic, FYI. Let it bubble away for another 5 or so minutes…

…before adding the chicken back in and cooking a few more minutes. (In case I hadn’t mentioned it, we used 4 thighs. It makes enough sauce to use 4 thighs and 4 breasts, but I didn’t have so much on hand. Would’ve fed an army! Instead, I’ve saved the sauce to be used with chicken breasts at a later date.)

While that simmers, mix together one cup of sour cream with 2 tbsp. flour. Mine looks funny because it’s whole-wheat. The sauce probably would’ve looked even prettier if I’d used AP bleached, but…don’t get me started. 😉

Oh! Parsnips are ready! Finally, a nice summer tan. I truly hope those rumors about the “char” on grilled (and, quite possibly, deliciously roasted) items being carcinogenic is false. I don’t tan or smoke, and my favorite way to eat veggies is roasted. Don’t take that away from me!!

Oh. The boys are hungry. Here’s Boo reminding me that HE needs deliciousness, too.

And a further segue… We’ve been giving them two meals of “mushy food” (they eat their crunchies during the day if they get hungry, but not much) since we had some health problems from BOTH boys. After trying several brands, we landed on one that doesn’t have any bi-products OR meal of any sort. Beardslee gets a little of the food with equal parts pumpkin (yes…it’s organic…) while Win just gets food. Their meal gets mashed together sufficiently, microwaved, and mixed with some water. See, the boys aren’t good drinkers when it’s cold out, for whatever reason…so, this helps amend that issue.

So, now that you’ve sufficiently been turned off by the sight of cat food, here I am adding the sour cream mixture. The sauce needs to be on low heat completely or else the sour cream will separate.

I cooked it on low heat for several more minutes, until I knew the chicken was completely cooked. At the end, I threw some parsley on top. Can’t wait to have fresh herbs again!

Here’s the final product, along with some brown rice to sop up the delicious juices, and a side of yummy parsnips.

It was sure to be such a nice meal, we decided to open up some white wine…of which Winston approved.