Having lost my mom just after my tenth birthday, my memories of her are spotty and faded.  Some are still clear, but I fear even those are fading with each passing year.  If there is one thing I wish I could remember more about her, it would be every possible detail about what she cooked.  I do remember a few of my own favorites, but I’d like to know what hers were.  I remember her going on health kicks from time to time.  Was that food really as gross as I remember?  The one thing I do know is that she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and cooking for our family, just as I do now.

This dish is the result of much wondering and searching inspired by a very vague memory of something Mom made.  It was one fall, I think, and I was home sick with some sort of flu or other stomach bug.  As always, she had quarantined me to my parents’ room and gave me as much Gatorade as I wanted.  After a couple of days, when I was able to keep food down again, she brought up a plate of dinner.  I’m not sure she ever told me what it was called but I vividly remember that meal.  Egg noodles in a orange-colored sauce with little flecks of red in it, and something else that gave it a creamy quality.  It tasted wonderful, and I cleaned my plate.  I don’t recall her making it again, and after she died I searched her recipe boxes and cookbooks trying to guess what exactly it might have been.  I’m not sure Dad would have known, but now he’s not around to ask either.  I happened upon it by chance while browsing recipe sites one day, and I had a hunch that this was it.  After trying a few more authentic versions of a traditionally Hungarian dish, I stumbled upon this surely Americanized version and finally, this was it.  It is comforting to have found it, comforting to taste it again, and comforting to feed it to my own children.  Andrew especially loved this dinner.  I hope he remembers it someday and makes it for his own family.

  • Yield about 8 servings


3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and/or thighs*
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt, plus more to taste
Cooked egg noodles, for serving


  • 01

    Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces in the pan, skin side down, and cook until browned and crisp, about 6 minutes.  Flip and cook until the second side is browned, about 6 minutes more.  Transfer to a plate.

  • 02

    Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot and lower the heat to medium.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes more.  Stir in the paprika and flour, season with salt and pepper, and stir constantly until the mixture is fragrant and begins to stick, about 1 minute.  Stir in the broth a bit at a time, whisking until smooth.  Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.  Return the chicken to the pot.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through (160˚ F internal temperature on an instant read thermometer), about 20 minutes.

  • 03

    Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board.  Remove the skin and bones; discard or save for another use.  Shred the chicken and stir back into the pot.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Serve the mixture warm over egg noodles.

  • 04

    *Though I almost always use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in recipes that call for chicken, this is one recipe where I think the dark meat of legs and thighs really is best.