1 whole chicken cut up (skin on - you want to give it flavor with the skin; you can take the skin off before you eat it)
3 heaping tablespoons flour + 2 more tablespoons flour for the optional sour cream sauce
2 tablespoons paprika (it does NOT have to say Hungarian paprika; regular paprika is just fine)
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large onion cut into thin slices
3 cups water
1/2 stick of butter cut into small pieces
8 oz. sour cream (I use Breakstone's. It's got to be a good full fat sour cream.)
1. Place chicken pieces in a large 12x16 oven-safe glass baking dish - or something close to that size. The sides should go up about 2 1/2 - 3 inches.
2. Place the onion slices around the chicken - not on it. You want them to soak in the gravy as this cooks.
3. Cut the 1/2 stick of butter into small pieces and drop dabs over the chicken and onions.
4. Mix the 3 tablespoons of flour with the 3 cups of water until blended. This is your "gravy" starter. Pour this over the chicken/onions/butter.
5. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika over the chicken pieces. These spice measurements are approximate. If you like it saltier, add more salt. If you like it spicier, add more pepper.
6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. You want this to cook SLOWLY so the chicken is soft. Give it a fork test after 1 1/2 hours to make sure the chicken is cooked through on the inside. If you have a slightly bigger chicken, it may need more time in the oven. So you have to cut into it to make sure it's not pink around the bone.
7. When the chicken is done, take it out of the oven. It's great to have just this way. Make sure you pour enough gravy and onions over the chicken when you serve it. The skin can be removed from the chicken at this point if you would like to do it.
8. If you like a sour cream sauce: prepare your sour cream sauce by combining 8 oz. sour cream with 2 tablespoons flour. Mix it together really well. Pour the sour cream sauce into the gravy around the chicken and mix it thoroughly around the chicken pieces as best as you can. Re-cover it and put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes just to heat the sauce up again. Again, when you serve the chicken make sure you put enough sour cream sauce and onions over the chicken.
1. Sour cream sauce is optional.
2. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken you cut up.
3. Cook the chicken pieces with the skin on to add flavor to the dish. You can remove the skin before you eat it.
4. I've heard some people have had this recipe with dumplings in the gravy. I've never made it that way but it would be easy enough if you wanted to prepare dumplings separately and then add them to the sour cream sauce or gravy in the last step.
5. If you find about 1 hour into cooking that a lot of the gravy has evaporated, add some more water a 1/2 cup at a time to the pan in the oven until it looks like you've got enough gravy around the chicken. You don't want to roast the chicken. You want it cooking in a good 1 inch (approximately) of gravy so it softens up. So add as much water as you want to the pan to achieve this. For a thicker gravy, add a tablespoon of flour to each cup of water you add.