Hungarian Paprika is actually a chile
powder made from the mildest of the capsicum family, and the best paprikas have the delightful property of embodying the
fruitiness and overtones which are always present in the best hot chile powders. But,
About four years ago, I really wanted to come up with something that would show off this characteristic fruitiness of paprika, so I concocted a very simple recipe for Mushrooms Paprikash in the extreme:
The Old Bear's Mushrooms Paprikash
1/2 large sweet onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1/3 cup butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup sour cream
salt to taste (optional)
crusty french bread
Melt half of the butter in a deep sauce pan. Saute
onions until translucent and tender. Add the remaining
butter and allow it to melt. Add the paprika and
cayenne. This quantity of paprika will form a
roux. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender.
Do not overcook the mushrooms or they will lose their
texture. Stir in the sour cream and allow to heat
gently until warm. Serve over rounds of lightly
toasted crusty French bread.
This recipe is easy to adjust as you cook. Add more butter or more paprika to get a nice, thick roux which looks almost like a flour-and-butter roux. I've found the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne is just about right, but you may want a little more bite -- but be careful, because if you add too much, you'll lose the paprika under the cayenne and come out with something more akin to Tex-Mex Mushrooms, which is not the intent.
I've served this as an appetizer at a dinner party, as a light supper (with a small green salad and a crisp chilled white wine), and as a family lunch. Most people who try it are surprised by the robust flavor of the
paprika because they're used to more traditional paprikash recipes which typically use about 1/3 of the quantity of paprika used here.