Sizzling Skillets & Other One Pot Wonders, by Emeril LagassePortuguese Pork & Clams) which reminded me of my grandmother's part-Portuguese heritage and am ending with a Hungarian dish that reminds me of my grandfather. Having grown up in Pittsburgh, where Hungarian food reigned supreme during our Sunday dinners, I become extremely nostalgic when encountering anything to do with stuffed cabbage/peppers or paprika-based dishes. My grandmother made Hungarian dinners nearly every Sunday, so I'm excited to have a modern take on such a familiar dish.
Emeril's Chicken Paprikash is a wonderful, updated interpretation of the simple paprika chicken with which I am familiar. First off, it contains all the traditional ingredients one would expect, from paprika to sour cream. The unexpected twist was an addition of white wine to the sauce. My grandmother never cooked with wine, so this was surprising and extremely welcomed. Anyone who knows me, knows I always cook with wine-- and sometimes even add it to the food. (Truffle salt is my guilty pleasure and often makes it into the mix, as in this case.)
Another difference is the light 'breading' and sauteeing of the chicken before stirring it into the sauce. The breading was simply flour & paprika and helped too thicken the sauce. This was, by far, the spiciest dish I made from the cookbook. When prepping the recipe and considering the measurements, the paprika and cayenne seemed minimal, but ended up tasting rather firey until the addition of sour cream (Which helped cool and balance the heat). Frankly, this what I expect from Emeril's recipes-- ramped up flavor with a kick of fire.
In an ongoing effort to support local markets and source as much of our ingredients from organic/ local places, I mustered up some Amish Kitchen egg noodles. Pre-made and bagged, yes, but direct from Millersburgh, OH. For those of you who are not familiar, northern Ohio is home to country's largest Amish/Mennonite population. Needless to say, we can get our hands on some seriously good cheese, produce and pasta right on our back doorstep.
When we finally served up the chicken sauce over egg noodles, we toasted my grandparents and dug right in to the Chicken Paprikash, which seemed completely familiar, yet modern. This was my second favorite recipe from the cookbook (a very close second to the English Cottage Pie). In retrospect, I realized when the cookbook first arrived my instinct was to dog-ear recipes that remind me of my family and childhood. That's what comes to mind when people think of "one pot wonders" -- hearty home cooking. While many of the Sizzling Skillets' recipes seem complex/complicated, the ultimate outcome is always the same-- a meal chock full of flavor and comfort served out of one pot. It took three weeks of cooking my way through this book to recognize the common strain through such a diverse lot of recipes. Whether you make Caribbean-style Oxtails, Tuscan White Bean Soup or a Vietnamese Crepe the outcome is as stated above... a meal chock full of flavor and comfort served from one pot.