01 January


Paprikás Csirke

(Hungarian Paprika Chicken)

Paprika Chicken

January 18: Feast Day of St. Margaret of Hungary

With a large European population in the Chicago suburbs and Northwestern Indiana, there were several interesting international grocery stores where Islander and her Ukrainian friend, Olga W., would often go together to shop for sweets, snacks and spices. Islander bought Hungarian paprika to replace the blander one in her pantry and it made a difference to the dish she cooked by boosting the flavor and color of paprika chicken (also known as chicken paprikash).

Paprika chicken (paprikás csirke) is a popular Hungarian stew. This is a nice recipe to make in observance of the feast days of Hungarian saints, beginning with St. Margaret in January. Jó étvágyat!

 Recipe

(Adapted from Squidoo)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken (drumsticks, thighs, etc.)
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1-2 cups water (enough to cover the chicken)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
  • hot cooked pasta noodles or rice

Directions

Dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off excess flour and set aside. In a large pan, melt the butter over low heat. Raise the heat and sauté the onions until translucent. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the pan. Keep warm.

Paprika Chicken

In the same pan, brown the chicken, turning to cook all sides. Return the onions to the pan. Pour water over the chicken. Sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika. Lower the heat, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for an hour or until the chicken is tender. Check seasonings and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Paprika Chicken

When cooked, remove the chicken, leaving the sauce in the pan. Add the sour cream and stir constantly until smooth (do not allow to curdle). Place the thickened sauce in a plate and add the chicken on top. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve over hot cooked pasta noodles or rice.

Paprika Chicken

Notes

  • Some calendars list the feast day of St. Margaret of Hungary on January 19 and 26.

Fig Newton Bibles

Fig Newton Bibles

January 16: National Fig Newton Day

With 50+ references in Scriptures, the fig is the most mentioned fruit in the Holy Bible. The first instance is in Genesis 3:7, when Adam and Eve used fig leaves to clothe themselves. Figs are abundant in the Holy Land and the Middle East and is used in many regional recipes. Ancient Egyptians made a rolled pastry filled with fig paste. Nabisco brand’s Fig Newtons are a modern version of these sweet snacks.

Going back to its biblical roots, we literally fashioned Fig Newtons into the blessed book. Fig Newton bibles are a cute cookie to serve for Sunday school, bible study, prayer group meetings and especially National Fig Newton Day!

Recipe

(Inspired by Catholic Cuisine)

Ingredients

  • Fig Newtons
  • Red fruit roll-up
  • White icing (we used Cake Mate brand bakery frosting)

Directions

Slice each Fig Newton down one side instead of laying it flat for a cleaner cut. Set aside. Open a red fruit roll-up.

Fig Newton Bibles

Slice the fruit roll-up into thin strips to make the bookmarks. Cut into smaller pieces with angled ends. Position the bookmarks on the bottom of one of the Fig Newtons using a toothpick.  Use white icing from the tube to outline the book cover.

Fig Newton Bibles

Pipe in the spine of the book and add a cross on the cover. Allow the frosting on the Fig Newton bibles to dry completely. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Fig Newton Bibles

Chicken Curry Puffs

Chicken Curry Puffs

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

During our graduate school days, Islander’s “Singapore Sister” AAW introduced her to her country’s quintessential street food—curry puffs. These snacks satisfied her study-buddy when working together on projects late into the night at AAW’s apartment. Islander liked that her classmate had a small but private cooking area, unlike the inconvenience of the shared community kitchen in our dorm.

Curry puffs are delicious dumplings reminiscent of European pasties, Latin empanadas and Indian samosas. Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and China have various versions as well, with different fillings inside a doughy shell.

AAW makes her curry puffs with potatoes, chicken, onions and spices and deep-fries the half circle-shaped parcels. We have adapted her recipe by using store-bought puff pastry, shaping them into triangles and baking them in the oven (although they can be fried, too).

Fried or baked, try cooking a Singaporean snack, chicken curry puffs, on National Curried Chicken Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from AAW)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked chicken breast meat, finely diced
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon korma curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed (we used Pepperidge Farm brand)

Directions

Wash the potato and place in a pot of water. Cover and boil for 20-25 minutes; the potato does not have to be cooked all the way through as it will be sautéed and then baked/fried later in the process. Remove the potato from the pot, cool, peel and dice into small squares. Set aside.

Chicken Curry Puffs

Finely chop the onion and chicken. Set aside. In a skillet or wok, heat the oil. Sauté the onions until they are translucent. Add the curry, chili and turmeric powders and stir well, being careful not to burn the onions.

Chicken Curry Puffs

Mix in the chicken, sugar and salt and pepper and sauté for about five minutes. Stir in the potatoes and blend well. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Chicken Curry Puffs

Remove the thawed puff pastry from the package and unfold them on a lightly floured surface. Cut each sheet into nine squares for a total of 18 pieces. Place a tablespoonful of filling in the middle of one square. Moisten two adjacent edges of the puff pastry with water. Fold into a triangle and press down on the edges. Use the tines of a fork to mark and seal. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue making the rest of the curry puffs.

Chicken Curry Puffs

The curry puffs may be frozen and cooked at a later time. To bake them, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, then bake the curry puffs for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve hot. To deep-fry them, heat the oil until hot. Carefully place the frozen parcels into the oil and fry for about five minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a platter and serve hot.

Chicken Curry Puffs

Notes

  • We are still in touch with our “Singapore Sister”. Like us, AAW is in an intermarriage; her husband, Lars, is from Germany. We look forward to seeing them at Islander’s conferences and hope that she and AAW will continue working on special research projects about intermarriage.
  • Korma curry powder may be found in Indian or Asian grocers or in the international foods section of the local supermarket. If this is unavailable, omit it and double up on the regular curry powder.
  • Optional: If baking the curry puffs, brush the tops of the pastry with an egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 teaspoon water) before baking. This will give a nice, golden brown sheen to the dumplings.
  • We made our curry puffs into triangles to avoid wasting scraps of dough. But they can be made into the traditional half-circle shapes by using a 3-inch round cookie cutter on the puff pastry dough.
  • Check out our other international curried chicken recipes from Sri Lanka and Hawaii by searching our blog.

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