Since winter is officially over, pretty soon I will switch culinary gears and celebrate the bounty of fresh spring vegetables at the market. But since there’s still a slight chill in the air, I decided that I was in the mood for one last hearty dish before bidding farewell to the cold weather. Many of my friends and family often ask me for vegetarian recipes that are healthy and filling and this recipe definitely fits the bill. You won’t miss the meat in this comforting, stick-to-your-ribs meal.
My Portobello Paprikash is a vegetarian twist on Chicken Paprikash, a classic Hungarian dish made with chicken cooked in a creamy sauce flavored with Hungarian paprika. For my version, I decided to use Portobello mushrooms because as far as vegetables go, they are very meaty and filling. Portobellos as just grown up cremini mushrooms and are low in calories with a good amount of fiber and protein. They're packed with several hard-to-get nutrients like selenium, copper and potassium. In addition, like other mushrooms, they are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals, many of which seem to play a role in protecting against certain types of cancer.
I flavor my sauce with authentic sweet Hungarian paprika that my parents brought back for me from a trip to Hungary. If you don’t have Hungarian paprika, any type of sweet paprika will do. I also like to add a little spice to my dish with the addition of some cayenne pepper- if you have hot Hungarian paprika, you can use that instead. I cook the mushrooms in a creamy tomato-based sauce made with both fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Red wine adds depth of flavor and reduced-fat sour cream adds richness. A bit of fresh, chopped parsley stirred in at the end adds just the right amount of brightness.
I like to serve my Paprikash with homemade dumplings called spaetzle in Germany or nokedli in Hungary. These adorable dumplings are made by passing a homemade batter through a special spaetzle maker into simmering water. If you don’t have a spaetzle maker, you can use a colander or anything with large holes in it- I used the pasta insert from one of my large pots. The dumplings are boiled for just a few minutes and then they’re done. They can be sautéed in butter for extra flavor and a crispy texture but I chose to skip this step to cut down on some calories. If you're pressed for time, you can serve this dish with egg noodles instead.
Portobello Paprikash with Spaetzle
Makes 4 servings
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 large Portobello mushroom caps, sliced ½-inch thick
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/8- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons flour (I use white whole wheat)
¼ cup red wine
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup reduced fat sour cream
¼ cup chopped parsley, divided use
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons skim or low fat milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup flour (I use a mixture of white whole wheat and all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
To make the paprikash, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté until tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute until fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the mushroom slices. Season them with salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until they start to soften, stirring frequently.
Add the paprika, cayenne and flour and stir to combine. Add the wine to the skillet and cook until it is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and stock and simmer 6-8 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and sauce is thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the sour cream and 3 tablespoons parsley. Cook another minute until heated through but do not let the sauce come to a boil. Serve the paprikash on a bed of spaetzle and garnish with the remaining tablespoon of parsley.
To make the spaetzle, mix the eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Add the salt, nutmeg and flour and stir together to form a thick, smooth batter. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Hold a large-holed colander or slotted spoon over the water and pour some of the spaetzle batter into the colander. Push the batter through the holes with a spatula.
Let the spaetzle cook 3-4 minutes then remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Toss the cooked spaetzle with parsley, if desired.
One Serving (Paprikash and spaetzle): Calories 355; Fat 13.4(Sat 4.2g); Protein 14.6g; Carb 45.5g; Fiber 7.1g