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Charl Leslie

Creamy Paprika & Leek Chicken

 

Recently reurned colleague Craig Ross, passed on this recipe when we worked together previously. He’s a self-confessed brilliant cook and said this is one dish he makes often and varies each time. I’ve made it many times since getting the idea, and must say I have a love-hate relationship with it; this is one of the nicest things I’ve ever made, but I would never have thought of it myself.

 

Craig’s Creamy Paprika & Leek Chicken

 

1kg chicken breasts, skin on

15ml butter

15ml vegetable oil (not olive)

125ml dry white wine

125ml water

50g tomato paste (1 satchet or equivalent)

1 chicken stock cube

15-30ml paprika

10ml dried herbs to taste – but consider thyme/sage/rosemary

1 prepack leeks (300g), white part only, sliced 2-3mm

125ml sour cream

 

Start by scoring (2cm apart) through the skin of the breasts lightly into the flesh, to make sure the flavour penetrates and they cook evenly. Now heat a very large non-stick pan over medium heat and fry the chicken in the butter/oil mix for a couple minutes on each side till nicely browned.

 

Meanwhile mix the wine, water, tomato paste and stock cube in a heatproof jug and heat for 30-45 seconds on high; stir till the cube is dissolved and pour onto the chicken in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and dust the paprika  and herbs over. Place the lid on and allow to simmer, just bubbling, for 15-20mins. Add the leeks and turn the chicken (preferably skin side down) and simmer for another 15-20mins.

 

Lastly, remove the chicken briefly to a plate and stir the sour cream into the sauce in the pan. Turn off the heat and replace the chicken (skin side up) in the sauce – it must not boil. Serve immediately on fusilli (screw noodles) for holding the awesome sauce. Craig sometimes leaves out the other herbs and adds some torn basil just before serving.

 

Charl’s variations:

 

I used thighs and drumsticks instead of breasts a couple times; you don’t have to score them, it reduces the cooking time slightly, but increases the calorie count. You could easily add 250g sliced mushrooms of your choice or 250ml baby peas near the end. Adding a little bacon/kassler when you fry the chicken will also give a great flavour.

 

I made a braai version of this dish, by dusting chicken breasts well with paprika, then braaing over medium to high heat till almost done, before placing in the sauce, adapted with cream cheese instead of sour cream and a mix of spring onion and onion instead of onion and heating through till the chicken was completely cooked. Served on a choice of spring onion chunky mash or mushroom fried rice, rather than the pasta, and it remained amazing tasting.

 

At the risk of angering some, I could imagine the braai version of the sauce also being great with pan fried veal, or even pork fillet. Either way, I encourage you to make it your own (after using the recipe once)

 

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