We are now well into January and here in Montreal, the weather has turned to the old blistery deep freeze of the dead winter. Daily highs in the minus twenties Celcius are the norm, and warm, comforting traditional foods and drinks come back to the forefront of our daily meals.
In our home, our cultural ancestry plays a huge role in what I grew up eating and what I cook and bake today. My parents both came from central Europe. My mother came from Slovenia in 1960 , while my father from northeastern Hungary near the Russian border in 1956. Meals my mother cooked while I grew up were reminiscent of their homeland back in Europe, and formed an integral part of my childhood family memories. Social gatherings were all focused around the mealtime table, and rare was the time any visitor was not offered some goodies to taste and eat when arriving to our home.
This week, with the oncoming snow storms and colder weather, I prepared a Hungarian traditional chicken paprikàs (paprikash). And like any enthusiastic microgreens urban producer I gave our traditional dish a modern twist with microgreens as a side. Traditionally chicken paprikash is served with spaetzle or rice with a cucumber side salad. I have modified the recipe by cooking aromatic basmati rice with the chicken paprikash and making a microgreen salad on the side. Here are the ingredients for the recipe:
2 red onions, finely chopped
3 large peppers (preferably Hungarian or cubanel)
1 Jalapeno pepper finely chopped if want some heat.
1 pint finely chopped mushrooms
The above ingredients are sautéed in a large skillet or pot until soft and aromatic in 2 TBSP olive oil and 2 TSP butter (traditional recipes call for lard or bacon fat) Add to this mixture:
1 whole chicken cut into pieces as desired.
3-4 celery stalks cut into 1/2 inch sized pieces
Stir well to coat the chicken pieces and add 1-2 cups boiling water to just cover the chicken and bring heat up to a strong simmer. Add the spices as follows:
1 TBSP VEGETA seasoning
(from Euro supermarkets/Walmart, salt based dried vegetables seasoning)
pepper to taste
hot pepper paste/powder, if desired to taste
1/4-1/3 cup Hungarian paprika powder
Stir well, and allow to simmer, half covered, and cook the meat. You may need to add another cup of boiling water if sauce evaporates. Once the meat is cooked (after 30 minutes minimum for all white chicken breast meat or longer for whole chicken), thicken the sauce by adding 1-2 TBSP flour dissolved in some of the hot paprikash sauce and placed back into the mixture to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
While the chicken paprikash cooks, boil the rice, and prepare the salad as follows:
4 ounces of microgreens (broccoli, radish,kale, etc)
drizzled with white vinegar
2 TSP olive/vegetable oil
1-2 TSP sugar
pinch or two of salt
black pepper to taste
finely chopped large clove of garlic
Mix well and serve fresh.
Normally this dressing is served topped over finely sliced cucumbers , lightly salted to wilt them but this modern variation with microgreens takes advantage of the highly nutritious option microgreens are for our diet.
My family appreciated the comfort food this hot meal gave us amidst the frigid temperatures of the outside winter air.
Try this recipe and let me know how it adds to your repertoire of family meals.
This week I grew green kale, purple kohlrabi, basil, triton radish, arugula, broccoli brassica blend, and swiss chard microgreens for my urban farm customers. I am so excited by the new varieties and possibilities they hold. Each time I run my hands through the basil micros I smell the aromatic scent of basil in the air..... and I can't wait to make some pesto for some pasta. I am bursting with ideas on how to use them and incorporate them into my recipes.
Above are some of my purple kohlrabi. I love photographing them, not just eating them. They are a beautiful miracle of nature and it always amazes me how from seeds that germinate in front of my eyes I am able to harvest a crop within 2 weeks of seeding my grow trays. I am amazed how they calm me down and bring me peace amidst this turmoil of a Covid world we now live in. If you are in the Montreal area, contact me to order some, try them out, and make them a staple in your own family's diet. If you are too far from my location, rest assured I will also show you how , in coming blogs, to grow some of your own, small scale, on your kitchen windowsill. Until then, keep well, be safe and eat my MicroCosm microgreens for life !