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Randy Adamsick (nee Adamčik)

Our family’s Slovak Paprikash

When my grandparents arrived in Pilsen from Rabca, Slovakia around 1900, they brought little with them except their desire for a better life, work ethic, and many Old World traditions. Among our culinary staples like goulash, stuffed cabbage, pork with sauerkraut, was our favorite on a cold Chicago night, Chicken Paprikash.  Ours was the “peasant” soup version of Paprikash, because it went much further (especially when loaded with dumplings) for Andrej and Maria’s family of seven.  This included my dad who was orphaned with his siblings by the time he was 16.  Our block of 24th St. was filled with sounds and smells and crazy characters who all seemed to have nicknames: “Pappy, K-Boy, Uncle Fat, Kiki, Copsy, and my dad, “Blackie.”  We never ate Paprikash without a big crowd around the table, drinking beer, telling stories, and complaining about the White Sox. 

In the 1970s, when my family moved out of the neighborhood, I missed what I didn’t know I had: an identity that went back generations to Slovakia, the homeland that I finally visited in 1997, nearly 100 years after the Adamčik arrival at Ellis Island. 

Chicago neighborhoods are full of such stories, and preserving these stories is the mission of a unique, only-in-Chicago non-profit, the Chicago Cultural Alliance.

I hope my story and recipe inspire you to support the Alliance with a gift to our Taste From Home Campaign. 

RECIPE FOR RANDY’S SLOVAK PAPRIKASH
Ingredients

  • 2-3 pieces of chicken
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 tblsp. Sweet Hungarian paprika
  • Dumplings (my mom made from scratch, but packaged German spaetzle work fine)

Brown the onion, red pepper, chicken. Slowly add sour cream to the pot and stir. Then add the tomato juice and water.  Season to taste and simmer for 90 minutes until the chicken falls off the bone. Remove chicken to take out the bones, then return chicken to the Paprikash.  Serve the soup piping hot, throw in the cold dumplings, and it’s just right.  Drink beer, listen to famed Czech zither player Anton Karas, and gather round for a meal straight from Highlands of the Tatra Mountains!

ABOUT Taste from Home

Taste From Home is brought to you by the Chicago Cultural Alliance. Our mission is to connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago. 

Taste from Home is collection of recipes and stories inspired by the food that defines who we are and where we come from. As we are all home exploring new recipes and cuisines, we encourage you to share a recipe and story with us that connects you to your family and cultural heritage. 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Supporters
Name Date Amount Comments
Irene & Tom Principe 07/01/2020 $253.54 Supporting Chicago Cultural Alliance!!!
Liz Kuncel 07/01/2020 $50.00  
Douglas Zapotocny 07/01/2020 $41.50  
David Anderson 07/01/2020 $26.06  
Jay & Susanne Rehm & Wengle 07/01/2020 $51.80  
Randolph Adamsick 06/30/2020 $103.30 TASTE FROM HOME is off and running!
Eric Lindbom 06/30/2020 $50.00 In honor of Doc Ellis.
Mary Farris 06/30/2020 $25.00  
Byron Leonard 06/30/2020 $31.20  
Karen Cardarelli 06/30/2020 $104.37 looks yummy!
  Total $736.77  
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