Looking for a big, warm, comfort-food hug?
Well you’ve come to the right place because today we have a recipe that is comfort food central. I mean crazy, stomach hugging, body warming, lip smacking, flavour bursting comfort food HQ.
And it comes in the form of succulent chunks of chicken swirled amidst a creamy – yet delightfully dairy free – red pepper sauce that has been infused with marjoram and spiked with the smoky, sweet and tastebud caressing powers of paprika.
This is not a comfort food hug, this is an eternal, lovestruck comfort food embrace and I’m never letting go.
Comfort food love♥️ is here and it’s now so grab yourself a fork and dig in!
This soul pleasing dish is a successful concoction of mine; a mishmash of ideas and cuisines smashed to gather in a single pan. During it’s creation there was a lot of finger and toe crossing, and a lot more chanting of my experimental kitchen mantra (♫“Please turn out delicious…. on the first attempt”♫).
And the chanting and finger crossing obviously worked because what came out of the pan was indeed the most amazingly comforting, crazy, saucy chicken dish I’ve had in a long, long time.
And, because I’m a food blogger, and all I talk about is food (and my addiction to Neftflix), I will now tell you how this successful kitchen experiment came into being.
It’s quite simple really, I was inspired by two very important things…
#1 THE WEATHER
Here in the Southern hemisphere, Autumn (fall) technically started on the 1st of March. Our Husky, Khan, thought this was true and allowed himself to regain his thick, fluffy winter coat.
However Autumn didn’t arrive on schedule and most of Australia leapt into what can only be described as a last hurrah heat wave. We would receive almost three weeks of extra summer and Khan would quickly regret the acquisition of his winter coat – as if the natural cycles of changing between winter and summer coats was in any way under his own control.
So for the last two and a bit weeks the sign of a dwindling summer, and an approaching cool autumn, has been no where to be seen. It’s been reaching 30°C (86°F) on some days and, despite getting darker earlier, the nights have been warm and balmy (perfect for sitting outside and drinking beer!)
Now, I’m a hot weather person so I have had no complaints about this and have been soaking up as much last-minute summer as I can.
And then it all changed….
I think it was Sunday, or maybe Saturday night, but, standing outside feeding the dogs, I suddenly had that strange feeling of coolness. Cool enough to be called a chill. A southern breeze had picked up and it was no longer a breeze that cooled you down during the summer heat, but slipped through your clothing and under your skin. It was an autumnal/ wintery breeze.❄️⛄️
And within the space of 24 hours autumn crash landed into Australia and it wasn’t messing around.
I’m out of shorts and into long pants and when I got up this morning I had to wear a sweater; I even had to turn on the gas heater in the kitchen this morning because the ambient room temperature was just too chilly to proof the bread I was making.
And so, with the sudden drop in temperature, all I can think about is cold weather food; soups, stews, curries, and quick and easy one pan meals. I had this craving for a creamy, french-style chicken dish, something out of Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking or similar.
And then, we come to my second inspiration…
MY RE-FOUND LOVE FOR PAPRIKA
Statement: I think Paprika is a really underrated spice.
It is included in so many meals and cuisines – and adds so much flavour and layers to a meal – but it rarely catches the same amount of limelight as, say, cumin, coriander, turmeric or cinnamon. And I think it deserves more.
I rediscovered my love of Paprika just before our plunge into cooler weather when the Paramedic made a Hungarian Goulash. It’s something he makes often but, since it has been summer, we haven’t had it for several months. I instantly fell back in love with the sweet and smoky flavour of paprika and wanted nothing more than to throw it into everything I cooked.
I was so in love, I was almost willing to eat it by the spoonful??
And so my comfort food cravings, and love of paprika, naturally came together in a sort of French/ Hungarian hybrid which turned out to been an instant hit. If every kitchen experiment was as successful as this (which they are not) I would be very happy!
Moving from summer towards winter is always a bittersweet moment in time. On one hand I’m loosing the long warm days, spending as much time outside and running down to the beach for a quick swim every now and then.
But, on the flip side, the cold, short days offer the perfect excuse to sit and watch more Netflix (as if you need an excuse, sheesh!) and gorge myself on delicious, warming and nutritious comfort food.
And when it’s as good as this Paprika Chicken, the coming of Autumn, and winter, doesn’t seem so bad at all.
♥️Comfort food love forever!!!!♥️
One Pan Paprika Chicken
Prep Time: 10 mins || Cook Time: 20 mins || Serves: 4 – 6
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- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 3 -5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 8 skinless chicken thighs, quartered
- 1 1/2 cups homemade (or store-bought) chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp dried Marjoram
- 2 Cups Thyme to Mango’s Red Pepper Sauce (can use a plain tomato pasta sauce as an alternative)
- 2 Tbsp sweet smoked Paprika
- Fresh parsley and lug of thickened cream for garnish (optional)
- Over medium/ high heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook until sealed.
- Add the chicken broth and marjoram and bring to the boil. Keep on a rapid boil and allow the stock to reduce until there is barely any liquid left in the pan. Add the paprika and stir until everything is coated. Pour in the Red Pepper Sauce and cook until heated through and the chicken is cooked.
- Serve with rice or pasta and steamed vegetables.