I've probably made it clear that I'm a big fan of Carolina Hurricanes defenseman František Kaberle. I regretted it (mostly alone) when the Thrashers gave up on him; I cheered and felt vindicated when he had a (for the most part) solid Stanley Cup final, including the Cup-winning goal. Since a) the Thrashers didn't have Kaberle in 2005-06, and b) Kaberle scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2006, it logically follows that c) if the Thrashers had kept Kaberle, they would have won the Stanley Cup this year. Makes one think, no?
There's a lot of reasons I like Kaberle. He's Czech. He's got movie-star looks. He was easily the most skilled defenseman to wear a Thrashers jersey in their 24-year existence. There's his eight Norris Trophies, his numerous scoring records. He's a great, great man.
And he's also accomplished in the culinary arts. (ok, his wife is.) A while back I mentioned the Kaberles' contribution to "Cooking With the Birds," the Thrashers' cookbook of a few years past. Unfortunately, I didn't give the real recipe, just a parody involving tons and tons of butter. Six people died recreating that fake recipe, and for that, I apologize.
So I stepped up to the oven, and here we are:
Kaberle's Chicken Paprika
1 chicken breast fillet, boneless and skinless. The cookbook recommends Butterball. Guess what company was one of the cookbook's sponsors. I used Publix brand, with no ill effects.
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp flour
for "side dish":
Place a photo or reasonable substitute of Frankie K somewhere in the kitchen. Make it an honored place. A place of respect.
Put on some good music. I suggest Dvořák's (Antonin, not Radek) Symphony No. 9 in e minor, F. Kaberle, conductor.
Cut the chicken into small pieces.
Wilt the onion in the melted butter.
Add paprika, chicken, and salt. Brown it. Add water, cover and simmer until tender (about 40 minutes worked for me -- though the cookbook says 45. I probably shouldn't quarrel over details with František Kaberle, author of "Underworld," "End Zone," "Libra" and other critically-acclaimed novels.)
Now's a good time to make the side dish. Take vodka. Pour it into a glass. Maybe people tell you that it's too early to drink. But it's a hot day (if you're in Atlanta, and if not, well, it gets hot other places). You work hard. Don't you deserve this? Yeah. You do. Treat yourself. Anyway. Vodka. I don't know what kind Frankie endorses, so you're on your own here. Top it off with limeade.
Doesn't that taste good? Doesn't the world seem a little better? Go ahead. Have another. Repeat until the chicken is done.
Once the chicken is tender, remove it from the pan. Mix the sour cream with flour. I usually eschew sour cream in all facets of my life, but Kaberle is a Nobel laureate and I am not. I'd follow his orders if I were you. Stir the sour cream/flour mixture into pan, simmer the gravy for five minutes.
Strain the gravy over the chicken. Serve with pasta. Another vodka/limeade might be good about now, too.
Enjoy it. Feel grateful that a man such as František Kaberle shares his gifts with us.