Found Recipes: Mum's Rice Paprikash Cold weather means "Mum's Rice Paprikash" for Merelyn Chalmers, a member of The Monday Morning Cooking Club. The club is dedicated to preserving recipes from Sydney's Jewish community. For our Found Recipes series, Chalmers shares the dish that she considers the ultimate comfort food.
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From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

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From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

From Down Under, A Paprikash To Warm You All Over

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/264589818/265358316" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Today's Found Recipe is perfect for a cold winter day. It's spicy. It's meaty. It's a real belly warmer. But we start with a scene from a real heart warmer, the romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "WHEN HARRY MET SALLY")

SIEGEL: No, not that scene. No.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "WHEN HARRY MET SALLY")

MERELYN CHALMERS: A paprikash is essentially a casserole, a Hungarian casserole.

SIEGEL: That's Merelyn Chalmers. There's never too much pepper in her paprikash - only about a fourth a teaspoon, in fact. Chalmers is one of the women behind Australia's Monday Morning Cooking Club, a group dedicated to collecting recipes from the best home cooks in Sydney's Jewish community. Their cookbook includes a recipe for Mum's Rice Paprikash. Mum being Merelyn Chalmer's late mother, a woman who survived Auschwitz.

CHALMERS: My mum was Hungarian and we ate paprikash probably five nights a week. This was something that she just threw together when I wasn't feeling well or my brother. And I moved to Sydney many years later thinking that this was a nothing dish that my mother threw together in a pressure cooker. And I realized that there were all these daughters of Hungarian women in Sydney. We have quite a large Hungarian-Jewish population, and they had all grown up on the same dish.

I make it a couple of times a winter. You can do it with veal or beef or chicken. You fry off onions till they're very, very dark golden brown. You sear the meat till it's a very dark golden. Then you add in a little bit of fresh capsicum, as we call it in Australia - that's pepper, red pepper in America. And then you put in some beautiful, good quality Hungarian paprika spice.

My mother would then put in a touch of garlic and a little bit of carrot to get some extra sweetness, only a little bit. You cook it slowly like a casserole.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CHALMERS: For me personally, it's like mother's milk. It is tenderness emotionally, as well as tenderness in the bite of the meat. And it really minds me of my mum.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: That's Merelyn Chalmers of the Monday Morning Cooking Club. And you can get the recipe for Mum's Rice Paprikash on our Found Recipes page at NPR.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is NPR.

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