Csirkepörkölt: The Kautezky family’s chicken in paprika sauce

Who are we?

Adrienn Schön Kautezky

Born in 1977 in Budapest, Adrienn is a makeup artist, mainly in film and television productions. Adrienn loves her husband David’s cooking very much and prefers not to disturb him in the kitchen. “He even takes care to keep it spotless,” she says contentedly. However, every week she bakes challah in honor of Shabbat, “so there’s something to dip in the food,” says David.

Dávid Kautezky

Born in 1974 in Budapest, Dávid is the owner of the Gettó Gulyás – one of the city’s most successful Hungarian restaurants. At the age of 13, he immigrated to Israel, where he was educated, served in the army and studied at a yeshiva. In 1999 he returned to Hungary to follow in his father’s footsteps and opened various entertainment venues. He became known as Budapest’s “king of Nightlife” and in 2017 he realized his dream and opened the restaurant.

Their daughters: 

Lola Sira 

Born in 2009 in Budapest. Lola is a 5th grade student at the Alternatív Közgazdasági Gimnázium school in the city. Lola practices fencing, loves to dance on TikTok and is quite the picky eater. Despite the fact her father runs a catering company that provides delicious healthy meals to schools – including the one she attends – Lola insists on settling for “noodles with nothing” or a “pale chicken breast”.

Léna 

Born in 2017 in Budapest. Lena attends the Jewish kindergarten in the city and loves to talk. Lena doesn’t eat meat; “At the age of two, Lena just decided one day that she did not want to eat meat anymore,” says her mother, Adrienn. “she doesn’t find it tasty.” However, she really likes matzah dumplings and pickled gherkin. Like her older sister, Lena loves noodles – but with the sauce.

Where was the photo taken?

The kitchen is the family’s meeting place, and Adrienn, Dávid and the girls spend most of their time together around the spacious dining table. “During the busy week we eat here standing up, but on Fridays we always sit down to have a quiet meal and light Shabbat candles,” says Dávid.

The kitchen is also Dávid’s playground, where he conducts his culinary experiments. During these challenging times and as a die-hard meat soup lover, Dávid now has a “PhD” in Soups: “It’s hard to make good soup,” he explains. The secret lies in a considerable amount of high- quality bones that enhance the flavor to the broth. It is very important to cook is over a constant simmer for at least 4 hours,” Dávid states and winks:” Meat soup is the best medicine for coronavirus as well, and my recipe, the ‘vaccine’, is already awaiting the approval of the health authorities.”

Our family kitchen

Jewish-Hungarian delicacies are dominant in the Kautezky’s kitchen: “my mother taught me how to cook all the Hungarian dishes,” says Dávid. “I remember standing next to her in the kitchen and watching everything she was doing – and I still call her to consult, but today I cook better than her,” says Dávid with a smile.

Along with the paprikash, foie gras and chestnut puree with whipped cream, the Kautezky kitchen also features Israeli dishes, ‘souvenirs’ that Dávid brought with him from Israel: “Every morning he makes a shakshuka,” says Adrienn. She, on her part, also strives to preserve the family tradition and cooks for her daughters her childhood dish: chicken dumplings in a cold vegetable sauce, a dish originally from the Ukraine, where her mother was born.

Adrienn’s parents also have a restaurant in Budapest – called Komédiás- and so when grandma and grandpa come to stay, the conversation usually revolves around the kitchen pots: who’s food is tastier –Dávid’s or his mother-in-law? “But it all stems from a strong mutual love and a lot of humor,” Adrienn emphasizes.

The house recipe: Csirkepörkölt chicken in paprika sauce

No Hungarian house is complete without chicken in paprika sauce, and so too is the Kautezky’s. “We eat Csirkepörkölt several times a week,” says Dávid. “I always cook a large amount because we all like it: Lola eats the chicken breast without the sauce, which she actually really likes, Adrienn adds some sour cream on top, like the Hungarians do, and I love the chicken drumsticks. In general, it is so easy to prepare because we always have all the ingredients at home – and most of all, of course, there is paprika!! “.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

2 Tbs goose fat

4 large onions, peeled and chopped

Water, as needed

2 Tbs sweet paprika

1 tsp salt

A pinch of ground black pepper

2 chicken drumsticks, with the skin

1 chicken breast, cut into 3cm cubes

2 chicken wings, with the skin

1 tomato

1 green pepper

  1. Heat the goose fat in a deep, wide pot, over medium-high heat and fry the onion until it turns translucent.
  2. Add water to the height of a finger (about 10 cm) and bring to a boil. When the water has all but evaporated – again add water to the height of a finger (about 10 cm), bring to a boil and cook until the water has all but evaporated. Repeat this step one more time.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the paprika, salt and black pepper. Mix well and return to the heat.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they start to brown.
  5. Add the whole tomato and green pepper, reduce to the lowest heat, cover and cook for about 3 hours, until softened. It is recommended not to add more water.
  6. Remove the tomato and green pepper remnants and serve with dumplings, Israeli couscous or noodles. You can also serve with just a few slices of challah, for dipping in the red sauce.

(Edited by Ofer Vardi, family photo by Nelly Kiss)