Paprikash with Pilaf

Recipe by Igor Stojanovic (Serbia)

Serves: 4


For the pilaf
2 cups rice
150 g vegetable broth for each 100 g of rice (or use warm water if you want to preserve the original flavor of the rice)
50 g butter, preferably clarified
Minced onion, carrot and celery
Cloves and/or star anise and/or cinnamon (depending on taste)

For the paprikash
1.5 kg chicken pieces or strips of chicken breast
1/3 glass of sweet paprika
Butter (or vegetable oil)
Minced onion, carrot and celery
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 glasses vegetable broth (or water)
2/3 glass flour
1 glass sour cream or yogurt (optional)
2 red and/or green peppers
1 pinch ground black pepper

Preparation time: 2 hours

Start by preparing the pilaf: Wash the rice well to remove all the external starch. Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until soft and golden, then add the rice and toast for 1-2 minutes. Add the hot broth and whatever spices you are using. Cover the pan and leave to cook for 12-15 minutes, without stirring—it’s not a risotto! This will help the rice grains absorb all the water while staying separate. After cooking, take the rice off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes then stir before serving.

Make the paprikash: Toss the chicken with the paprika and leave to marinate.

Take a wok or a deep frying pan and melt some butter, then add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté until soft, then add the chicken and brown over high heat for 10-15 minutes, turning it so all sides brown. Add the broth or water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to cook for 10 minutes.

Raise the heat and stir in the paprika and flour. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Serve the paprikash with the pilaf.

This dish lends itself to many variations—personally I like to add some coriander at the end of cooking. In the summer, to make the dish fresher, you can add sour cream or yogurt. Bon appetit!