paprikash hotdish

I am not up and at ‘em at 3 o'clock in the morning like I thought I would be because it turns out I’ve not been caught by westbound jet lag, which is a shame because westbound jet lag is almost as good as airplane ravioli. It's all because we became night owls in Berlin. While at home we can barely stay awake to finish Homeland, in Berlin we had no bedtime and stayed out well past the last call for hummus, discussing deli culture and gefilte fish over *just one round of arak* (in Berlin, i know, we'll get to that!). And then in the mornings we were lucky if we'd acquired our ein kleiner kaffee zu mitnehmen bitte and gotten on the u-bahn by 11. It'd weird me out when I’d get text messages from friends at home around then, “What is Michelle doing texting me in the middle of the night?!" I'd think, and then it'd occur to me that it was a normal New York waking hour. 

Which is all to say that we did a terrible job of adjusting to Berlin time, and thus have very little work to do now in the way of adjusting back to Grand Forks time. (And which is also to say that we could have easily spent our entire Friday night at the Berghain if Eggboy would have allowed us to attempt to get in lol.) 

I have a bunch of photos that I'm going to put together for you and then I'll tell you more about my trip, but today I've got to get going on testing Passover recipes and unpacking and telling you about this hotdish! According to a lot of instagrams and the fact that Eggboy is laundering all of his insulated coveralls at once in order to put them away for the warmer months, spring is here. Peas are here, rhubarb is here, chives are here, supposedly, but out my window it is still deliciously cloudy parka weather, which means that hotdishes are still *ok*. And I am really excited about this Paprikash hotdish because if Chinese hotdish is my stripper name, Paprikash hotdish is totally my other stripper name, as a nod to my Hungarian half. I love Paprikash and typically have it with dumplings or crusty buttery sourdough, but do you know what is equally as good as both of those things? Tater tots, duh. 

The filling is based on my chicken pot tater tot hotdish but it's flavored like a paprikash, meaning more onion and a load of paprika. So much paprika. Get new paprika because paprika loses its flavor really quickly if it's sitting on your spice shelf. I realize that peas and carrots aren't traditional paprikash ingredients but neither are tater tots, and in the interest of adding more veggies to make this a one-pot meal, I've dumped some in. The result is a v creamy, v comforting supper that's best when shoveled into your mouth out of a large deep bowl. And as you can see, this can totally be wrapped up and stuck in the freezer for later or to bring to a friend's house, just allow for an hour and a half or so in the oven if you're baking it from frozen!

Happy hotdishing! 

paprikash hotdish

makes 6 to 8 servings


1/4 c butter

2 large onions, sliced

3 large carrots, chopped

Kosher salt

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tb hungarian sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tb tomato paste

6 tb flour

1/2 c dry white wine

2 c whole milk

enough chicken broth base for 2 c liquid** 

20 oz pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/2- or 3/4-inch pieces

3/4 c peas

20 ounces tater tots

**a bouillon cube or something of the equivalent, like better than bouillon or homemade concentrate. since different brands require a different amount of mix per cup of liquid, check the manufacturer's instructions. don't dilute it in water! 


preheat the oven to 400ºf. 

in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. add the onion, carrots, a good pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring until the onions and carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. add the garlic, paprika, cayenne, and tomato paste and cook for one more minute.

stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed and cook for one more minute. add the wine and stir until thickened. then add half of the milk, stirring constantly until thickened, and repeat with the other half of the milk. stir in the chicken broth base and chicken. cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 15 minutes. stir in the peas. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

transfer the mixture to an 11" by 8" baking dish (or other 3-quart ovenproof dish) and cover with tater tots. arrange them snugly and neatly. bake until the tots are golden brown. begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. let cool slightly and serve!

or, let cool slightly, cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook. it'll last 2 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer.