Paprika Chicken

A Viennese classic made cut-friendly.

Paprika Hendl (“Hendl” is Austrian slang for chicken) is a typical Viennese dish rich in, not surprisingly, paprika, the dried and ground red bell peppers that are so popular due to the former Austro-Hungarian empire. And paprika is still very popular, in certain parts of Austria you don’t have salt and pepper on the table, there is salt and paprika. Normally there are loads of fatty sour cream in this dish, making it not exactly a weightloss friendly dish, but I changed things up a little and it works beautifully. Give it a try!

I love my mothers Paprika Hendl and eating it is always a little time travel back into my childhood. She makes it very traditional: whole chicken thighs, sour cream and buttered Spätzle (a kind of small gnocchi) as a side dish. This is quite a rustic dish, but still somehow elegant and I’m always amazed how such humble ingredients create such an incredible flavour.

As delicious as this traditional version is, it is also quite high in calories and currently I cannot afford to eat it. But somehow the idea of a cut-friendly version jumped into my mind recently. Well, hunger certainly makes you more creative.

Substituting chicken thighs with chicken breast was the first idea. But there is still the sour cream problem left to be solved. Normal yoghurt is a little too runny and also a little too sour. But fortunately I had already some Skyr at home, the protein rich, thick, Icelandic brother of yoghurt, which is a constant companion for my weightloss diet anyways (please Skyr, sponsor me!). So I tried it out and it worked wonderfully. I might even increase the amount of Skyr the next time.

This recipe doesn’t include many spices, but they are essential. Paprika gives the typical Hungarian flavour and majoram is the Austrian part of this dish. Use them liberally and try to get good quality. Majoram is typically used dried and powderd in Austrian cuisine, but you may use the fresh herb as well. You can use fresh red bell peppers or the roasted, peeled and canned stuff. I used both, they are slightly different and compliment each other well.


  • 3,4kg Chicken breast
  • 400g Carrots
  • 800g Red bell peppers
  • 250g Onions
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • 65g Cooking fat, preferably lard
  • 65g Tomato concentrate
  • 450g Skyr
  • 250ml Water
  • Lemon zest, salt, pepper, paprika and majoram


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bitesized chunks. Set up a large pan or roasting tray in high heat, add the lard and fry the chicken on both sides. Remove from the pan when nicely coloured. You might have to do this in several batches.
  2. Peel and finely dice the onions. Start frying them slowly in the lard. Remove the seeds and stalk from the peppers and cut them into nice chunks. Add them to the onions. Peel the garlic, finely slice it and add to the pan. Finely slice the carrots and add them to the other veggies and add the tomato concentrate. Leave to roast until everything is tender and has a little colour.
  3. Add salt, pepper and the other spices, but paprika at the end. It will get bitter if you burn it, so be careful! If you like, you could also add a bay leaf, even if it is not traditional (you little rebel).
  4. Add the water or brining liquid of the canned peppers and stir well. Add the chicken pieces and let cook until tender. There won’t be much liquid, but this is okay.
  5. When everything seems to be ready, turn down the heat and stir in the skyr and the lemon zest. Don’t let it boil anymore, or the protein in the skyr will split (nothing bad, but not very pretty). Season to perfection and serve it up!


100g paprika chicken have the following macros:

  • 91kcal
  • 15g Protein
  • 2,4g Carbs
  • 1,8g Fat

This dish is extremely protein rich and low in calories, so most of us can afford a side like rice or a nice salad. If you have a lot of calories left to spare, try the Spätzle, they are really good. But be aware that I will envy you 😉 .

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