By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
It's chilly and foggy here in Florence, a definite Transylvania vibe for the season. It reminds me of a recipe stolen from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I’m going to cook it tonight.
You may ask how I came upon this recipe. Well, it is a long story, but I consider myself quite an expert on vampires. I’m not a vampire slayer or anything like that, but my experience with the undead covers almost seven years of my vampirologic working life. It happened a few years back when I landed a job as the chief editor of Young Adult books during the explosion of the “vampire literature trend” at the time of Twilight, so I published vampire books for years.
You know the basics. If you want to scare vampires away, get a lot of garlic—they hate it!
If you invite a vampire for dinner, remember that they don’t really eat or drink wine, they prefer fresh young blood. You know . . . the very basics.
In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Johnathan Harker describes a recipe he had at an inn on the way to Transylvania. It is a traditional recipe called “Paprika Hendl,” and he mentions that he will send the recipe 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."
—Bram Stoker, Dracula, Chapter 1
This recipe is always good. I've made it many times, and it really is delicious!
2.5 lb chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 red onions, sliced
3 Tbsp 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 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 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).