Devil’s Night 2016

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“If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn. People die. But real love is forever.”

Happy Devil’s Night!  The night before Halloween became known as Devil’s Night as far back as the 1930’s all the way to the early 90’s. What started as petty criminal acts escalated to larger acts of destruction like arson.  This eventually lead to the creation of Angel’s Night (1995, Wikipedia), a sort of neighborhood watch, to combat the destruction.  This night was immortalized in the 1994 movie The Crow starring the late Brandon Lee (who died during filming).  Though I can’t quite remember the first time I saw the movie, it has been a tradition held by me and mine every October 3oth to sit and enjoy this movie.

This year I’ve coupled the tradition with some literary cooking.  I would suggest reading through the entire post as I did it in a play by play sort of manner and the end result was a bit on the salty side.  Recipes and driving directions tend to have similar outcomes with me.  I gloss over them, think I know where I’m going to end up, get lost but then by some happy accident I end up there anyways…more or less.  It has been very much speculated as to why I don’t use a Garmin or follow the directions all the way through.  My nearest explanation is this: While showing my friend Crimson Peaks this afternoon I pointed out how it might have made more sense if they had investigated the death of the main character’s father before she left on her whirlwind marriage to the dark Byronic figure.  And my friend responds “yes! but then there would be no story :). ”  And so it is with my culinary and road misadventures.  So be forewarned.

I draw my inspiration this year from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I believe in the first chapter Jonathan Harker  describes the food from the Transylvanian area being heavy on the red pepper and that he would copy it down so his wife, Mina, could make it.  It reminded me of Chicken Paprikash a traditional Hungarian dish.  So, here we go!   Once upon a glass of wine (I like mine Spanish and dry, I thought the Spanish wine would go nicely with the paprika.  You can skip this step or substitute anything you like.):

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Next chop up a large onion.  Eyeball it at 1 cup of chopped onion.

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Saute onion and a good amount of vegetable oil until soft (the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons.  I have never found the oil called for in recipes to be enough, this might be a character flaw on my part or a conspiracy found in most recipes…probably the latter.)

Next season two good sized pieces of chicken breast (recipe calls for 4-5 pounds of disjointed chicken… I choose to treat the recipe like our local favorite Chicken French since I’m more familiar with it and grew up in a vegetarian household and am honestly not that great with meat in general) with 1 teaspoon salt (recipe calls for 2 tablespoons…maybe it was the lack of chicken I used but it was just way, way to salty.  I’m making a note in the book and next time it will definitely be at most a teaspoon). 1 Tablespoon Paprika & 1 teaspoon black pepper.  Brown chicken until there is no pink left.

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Add 2 cups of water, cover and let simmer while you prepare the dumplings.

I only made a half batch of dumplings and this was also a mistake, so double this batch.

Mix 1 1/4 cup flour & 1 teaspoon salt:

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Whisk 1 egg and 1/4 cup of water.  Add to flour mixture and stir until smooth.

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Boil a ton of water and some salt (recipe calls for 5 quarts and 2 teaspoons of salt…the choice is yours).  Pinch off little bits of the dough and drop them in the boiling water:

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Let the dumplings do their thing while you go back to the chicken.  Move the chicken around and make a little well in the middle of the pot.  Add 1/4 cup of sour cream, 4 tablespoons flour to thicken (recipe calls for 2 but it was really soupy.  Again, your call.) and 1/2 cup of milk.  Mix all that up until smooth and let it simmer for a bit:

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The dumplings should be about done by now and will float on the surface like so, drain and serve in a bowl:

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Chill out for a bit, pour yourself a bit more wine and watch the opening scene of The Crow, around the time the crow leads Erik Draven to those kick ass pair of boots just hanging out in the dumpster your meal should be ready.  Apparently there is no such thing as too much paprika in Hungarian cooking so sprinkle a bit more on and have a wonderful Devil’s Night!

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