By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
It is so chilly and foggy here in Florence, it looks like it could be Transylvania! The weather's put me in the mood for a recipe stolen from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I’ve decided to cook it tonight.
You may ask why I even have such a recipe? Well, it is a long story, but let's just say that I'm an expert on vampires. I’m not a vampire slayer, but my life experience with the undead covers almost seven years during my vampirologic working life as chief editor of Young Adult books during the explosion of the “vampire literature trend” at the time of Twilight. I “chewed” and published vampire books for years, so let me reiterate how vampires are connected with food.
1. Garlic—if you want to keep them a bay.
2. They don’t really eat or drink wine; they prefer fresh young blood. So, if you want to make a vampire happy, find a cute virgin, perhaps?
In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Johnathan Harker describes a recipe he dined on in an inn on the way to Transylvania. It is a traditional recipe called “Paprika hendl,”and he says he has to send it to his fiancé Mina because it was such a tasty dish.
"We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians."
— Dracula, Bram Stoker
Here's the recipe; I've cooked it several times, and it was very good! Enjoy!
2.5 lb chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 tsp Extra Virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 red onions sliced
3 tbsp of Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tbsp flour
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
Heat the oil in a pot and brown the chicken. Remove the chicken and set aside.
In the same pot, add the onions, paprika, flour, butter, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir all together until the onions are softened and you no longer have too many lumps in the mix.
Add water and chicken stock, then the chicken. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Take the pot off the heat and stir in the sour cream. Serve hot.
Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).