Whenever I smell chicken paprikash or goulash, two warhorse Central European stews, I’m taken back to playing in my backyard at dusk. Growing up, my next-door neighbors were an elderly Polish couple, and an intoxicatingly savory, spicy, and slightly smoky smell would waft into our yard from their house around dinnertime—a smell that I’m now convinced came from chicken steeping in paprika. To be honest, I think there could be a whole cookbook devoted to chicken and paprika recipes alone (like Pimentón Chicken), so a chicken paprikash stew translated for cooking on a sheet pan was one of the first ideas I rushed to create for this book. I’ve given it some nontraditional accents with roasted sweet potatoes and a crispy kale crown—a canopy of oiled leaves draped over the whole sheet pan. The crispy kale can actually be applied to just about any other recipe in the last 15 minutes of cooking, so I’ve included it as a bonus recipe here. And since chicken paprikash stews are enriched with sour cream for thickness and dairy tang, I’ve included an optional sour cream–based sauce to serve on the side.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, 2 teaspoons of the paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Quarter the sweet potatoes lengthwise, then slice the quarters lengthwise into evenly sized triangular spears no thicker than 1 inch wide (depending on how large your sweet potatoes are, you may end up cutting them into eighths or sixteenths). In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, cubanelles, and onion with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon paprika.
- Arrange the sweet potato wedges on a sheet pan, spacing them so that no two are touching and leaving some room for the chicken. Arrange the chicken pieces on the pan. Scatter the peppers and onion around and in between the sweet potato and chicken. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Add the kale crown and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until a kitchen thermometer inserted into the thickest part close to the bone registers 160°F.
- Just before serving, quickly reheat the sauce (if using) and pour it into a bowl or gravy boat. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the warm sauce on the side.
- Rub the kale leaves with the olive oil and salt. When the chicken has 15 minutes left to roast, drape the kale pieces over the whole sheet pan, in as even a layer as you can, and return the pan to the oven to roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the kale is gently browned on the edges.
- Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 30 seconds, until warm. Add the stock and whisk to blend. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Whisk in the sour cream and bring the sauce to a low boil. Add the paprika and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired. Remove from the heat until you’re ready to serve.
Recipe courtesy of SHEET PAN CHICKEN: 50 Simple and Satisfying Ways to Cook Dinner. Copyright © 2020 by Cathy Erway. Photography by Lizzie Munro. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.