In the Czech kitchen: A modern twist on paprika chicken 'wings' it

Chef Petr Benda of Bufet restaurant shares the essential ingredients and steps for making delicious kuře na paprice.

Klára Kvitová

Written by Klára Kvitová Published on 15.03.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 22.03.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Paprika chicken (kuře na paprice), tender chicken in a velvety paprika sauce, transports many Czechs back to childhood. Whether it's the version their mother made them or the one they enjoyed in the school cafeteria, for many it craving for this comfort food has carried over into adulthood. No surprise that paprika chicken is still one of the most popular Czech dishes and restaurants continue to turn out modern variations.

A French-Hungarian culinary creation beloved by Czechs

Paprika chicken is not just a part of Czech, but also of Viennese cuisine. Some historians say the recipe comes from Hungary, while others cite the influence of the Austro-Hungarian empire and France. Who's right? Perhaps both: One origin story notes the meeting of French chef and culinary icon Auguste Escoffier being presented with dried peppers by Hungarian counterpart Károly Gundel.

Legend has it that Escoffier didn't know what to do with the peppers and invented a dish called poulet au paprika an upmarket version of the Hungarian paprikás csirke or paprika chicken for the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo. Escoffier seared the meat and stewed it fricassée-style in a sauce of butter, cream, and paprika which gave the dish its appetizing color and soft texture. The dish also helped the French claim that the dish was as much theirs as it was the Hungarians –though Escoffier recorded the recipe as poulet sauté à la hongroise.

Paprika chicken is like any other classic – the steps are always the same, the seasoning depends on the chef, and how you serve it is typically a matter of tradition. The main rule of thumb for all variants is to use quality ingredients and take your time. This short and easy modern version comes from the chefs at Bufet restaurant.

Bufet secrets: Special sauce plus first-class meat from the grill

Bufet uses chicken wings that are grilled separately over fire, which is why the chefs focus all the more on locking in a flavorful sauce based on sweet, caramelized onions and Hungarian paprika, which is partly smoked and gives the sauce its unique taste and aroma. They also make their broth in-house.

"Wings give the sauce umami, that 'delicious' taste," Petr Benda, head chef at Bufet advises. "We leave them in until the meat is soft and does not fall apart. This is an indication that the wings will have already given the necessary flavor and need to be taken out. Otherwise, calcium would be released from the bones and the sauce wouldn't taste as good.”

Chef's tips

  • The intensity of the sauce is enhanced by two broths – one from meat trimmings, the other from the seeds and stalks of peppers.
  • Chicken wings can also be boiled in the pot, to yield an even meatier flavor similar to that of an oven-baked sauce for chicken.
  • At Bufet, the sauce is partly thickened with a classic roux made from flour and fat, which comes from the stock. Cream or butter can be added as desired.
Rice is a popular side dish for paprika chicken.
Noodles, gnocchi or rise are all popular side dishes for paprika chicken.

Bufet’s paprika chicken (kuře na paprice)

Serves 4


  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp of equal parts Hungarian sweet and smoked paprika
  • 1l of chicken broth
  • 500 g of chicken wings
  • ½ l of broth from pepper trimmings and spices (allspice, bay leaf, black pepper)
  • Roux
  • 200 ml of sour cream
  • 200 ml of whipping cream
  • 200 g of butter, cubed
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1.Heat a large pan over medium and fry the onions in a sufficient amount of the oil until golden-brown.
  • 2.Increase the heat and stir in paprika, season with salt, and cover with chicken stock. Add the chicken wings and bring to a boil.
  • 3.Removed the softened wings and add the broth made from paprika stems and spices (you can also substitute an equal amount of chicken broth with allspice added to taste).
  • 4.Thicken with roux, cook for a few minutes then add the two kinds of cream and butter.
  • 5.Stir and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  • 6.Serve the paprika chicken with rice, pasta, gnocchi, or bread dumplings.

In the Czech Kitchen is a weekly column written in cooperation with the culinary experts from Ambiente. Established in 1995, the Prague-based collective of pubs, restaurants, and fine-dining outlets have transformed the Czech culinary landscape and lent to the widespread awareness of quality food service and production in Czechia. Follow their socials or book your table at

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