Food With Paprika

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Food with paprika is a collection of recipes, stories and photos from around the world. It’s about food that takes you on a journey and makes you feel at home wherever you are.

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Food With Paprika

Although it originated in Mexico, paprika has found its way into cuisines from all over the world. The spice – which is made by drying red bell peppers and grinding them up – has become a permanent fixture in the food of Spain, the sweet, aromatic dishes of North Africa, hearty eastern European stews and fragrant Indian curries (plus many more). Paprika is not just paprika, though – a huge part of its versatility comes from the many forms it takes, including smoked paprika, which adds a beautiful kick of flavour to all sorts of dishes.

It can be tempting to just sprinkle a bit of paprika over your food for a splash of colour, but knowing how to use it properly will make all the difference to your cooking. We’ve rounded up our favourite paprika recipes to provide some inspiration if you’re looking to make the most of your jar.

1. Grilled sardines with paprika mayonnaise

Grilled sardines with paprika mayonnaise
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Grilled sardines with paprika mayonnaise

by Nathan Outlaw

Using smoked paprika in cooking can feel a bit like cheating sometimes – it instantly adds a smoky warmth to whatever you stir it into or sprinkle it over. Nathan Outlaw uses it to add flavour to mayonnaise, which he serves alongside simply grilled sardines and a clump of pickled vegetables. The tangy pickles cut through the oily fish, while the paprika mayo brings everything together beautifully.

2. Romesco sauce

Romesco sauce
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Romesco sauce

by Sally Abé

One of the cornerstones of Catalan cuisine, Romesco sauce is rich, smoky and piquant. It’s traditionally served with calçots, a type of Spanish spring onion, but it works as a dip for all sorts of crudités and vegetables. A combination of almonds, sherry vinegar, paprika and garlic, the ingredients are blitzed together and emulsified with fruity olive oil. Try it with simple grilled fish for an authentic Catalan dinner.

3. Kalonji Jhinga tiger prawns

Kalonji Jhinga
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Kalonji Jhinga

by Alfred Prasad

Tiger prawns are fat, juicy and sweet, and with the right marinade can be turned into a dish that needs no accompaniment. Give them an Indian twist with Alfred Prasad’s recipe for Kalonji Jhinga, a traditional starter that’s full of flavour. The prawns are given a quick marinade in Greek yoghurt flavoured with plenty of paprika, garlic and ginger, before being quickly grilled or barbecued until lightly charred.

4. Spicy beef shin hotpot

Spicy beef shin hotpot with roast squash wedges
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Spicy beef shin hotpot with roast squash wedges

by Food Urchin

A one pot dish that’s bound to impress, this beef shin stew is given a Spanish-Mexican kick thanks to chorizo, chickpeas and a hefty tablespoon of smoked paprika. While it takes a good few hours to cook, this is a recipe ideal for cooking in big batches before transferring to the freezer, as this gives the ingredients time to develop in flavour. A hearty, satisfying dinner recipe for when the weather starts to turn cold.

5. Goulash

Goulash and spaghetti
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Goulash and spaghetti

by Geoffrey Smeddle

Goulash is Hungary’s national dish, and paprika plays a central role in the creamy beef stew. Here, Geoffrey Smeddle shares his simple version, choosing smoked paprika to flavour the sour cream sauce. The cream helps mellow the paprika to create a seriously comforting dish that’s perfect for dinner on a chilly evening.

Best Smoked Paprika Recipes

And now…the best smoked paprika recipes!

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Easy Paella with Smoked Paprika

The ultimate smoked paprika recipe: paella! This traditional Spanish rice dish is actually easy to make at home: we promise! You don’t even need a fancy pan: a large skillet will do! Smoked paprika adds an earthy flair to the rice, which is topped with veggies, artichokes and shrimp. It’s a stunning recipe for entertaining, but easy enough for a weeknight.

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Spanish Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas are traditional Spanish tapas: fried potatoes with a warm sauce. Here’s a version you can make at home! Here the potatoes are baked until crispy, instead of fried. They’re topped with a creamy aioli sauce mixed with smoked paprika for a smoky flair!

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Wedge Salad with Smoky Ranch

Here’s one of our favorite smoked paprika recipes: Smoky Ranch Dressing. That’s right: it’s homemade ranch dressing, made smoky by adding a bit of smoked paprika! Drizzle it over an iceberg wedge and top with chives, sundried tomatoes, blue cheese and crushed potato chips, and it’s heavenly.

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Gnocchi with 5 Minute Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is another traditional smoked paprika recipe! Romesco is a Spanish sauce made with jarred red peppers, garlic, olive oil, and almonds. It often has smoked paprika for a smoky undertone, as does this one. You can blend it up in just 5 minutes! Serve it with gnocchi for a super-fast meal.

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Perfect Vegan Black Bean Burger

Smoked paprika is a great way to add meatiness to vegetarian and plant based recipes. Here it is adding a meaty undertone in this black bean burger! Made with sweet potato and black beans, top it with spicy mayo for a hearty meal.

There Are 3 Different Types of Paprika — and It Matters Which You Use

There’s a big difference between sweet, smoked, and hot paprika. 

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika-Honey Butter
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CREDIT: PHOTO: JENNIFER CAUSEY

Every time I found a recipe that called for smoked or hot paprika, I shrugged and sprinkled in the regular stuff instead. I thought the different varieties didn’t really make a difference, so there wasn’t a need for me to keep three different versions of the same spice on hand. 

Turns out, I was wrong. Paprika in its simplest form is made from grinding sweet pepper pods to create the iconic bright red powder. But depending on the variety of paprika, the color can range from a bright orange-red to a deep blood red and the flavor can be anything from sweet and mild to bitter and hot. 

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Eating healthy should still be delicious.

Be careful to purchase the right kind of paprika for your dishes, and store the spice in a cool, dark place for up to six months. 

Choose Wild Rice Stuffing Over Bread Stuffing
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CREDIT: PHOTO: JENNIFER CAUSEY

Sweet Paprika

Typically just labeled as paprika, this spice adds vibrant color to any dish. It can be sprinkled as a garnish over deviled eggs or potato salad, or used as a flavoring for meat rubs. It has a sweet pepper flavor, without any heat. If a recipe doesn’t specify the type of paprika, we recommend using this kind. 

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Some dishes that call for sweet paprika are flexible with type, like our Chorizo Roasted Poblano Pepper Wild Rice Stuffing. Sweet paprika provides a sweeter flavor to calm down the heat, but smoked paprika will add a delicious, subtle smokiness. Other dishes, like Moroccan Butternut Squash Chickpea Stew and Slow-Cooked BBQ Pork Roast need the sweet paprika to balance other spices. We generally don’t recommend substituting in hot or smoked paprika.

Paprika-Rubbed Sheet-Tray Chicken
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CREDIT: PHOTO: JUSTIN WALKER

Hot Paprika

Hot paprika is the Hungarian variety of paprika, and is generally accepted as superior to the rest. In Hungarian cuisine, paprika is used as a primary flavoring method, instead of simply adding color to a dish. It is most commonly found in classic dishes like Goulash, a stew made from red meat. onions, potatoes, and vegetables, and served over egg noodles, and the creamy Paprikash, a similar stew that uses lighter meats and sour cream. 

This version adds a peppery, spicy kick to any dish. Our Paprika Rubbed Sheet Tray Chicken blends both hot and smoked paprika for a truly fiery bite, while our Breakfast Hot Dish subs hot paprika in for spicy Aleppo pepper. You can sub sweet paprika into dishes that call for hot paprika and sprinkle a touch of cayenne pepper in to compensate for the heat. We do not recommend using smoked paprika in place of hot. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika-Honey Butter
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CREDIT: PHOTO: JENNIFER CAUSEY

Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika, often called pimenton or smoked Spanish paprika, is made from peppers that are smoked and dried over oak fires. This process gives the red powder a rich, smoky flavor. You can find this smoked variety in mild, medium-hot, and hot. True Spanish pimenton is produced using traditional techniques and comes from specific areas in Spain, as per the European Union’s laws. 

This variety is has a smoky flavor you might find by grilling outdoors or charring a red pepper. The flavor is still sweet and cool without adding any heat to the dish, unless you purchase a hot, smoked variety. You can sample the smokey undertones in our Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Smoked Paprika-Honey Butter or dig into a bowl of Smoky Lentil Stew. You can sub in sweet paprika into dishes that call for smoked, but it will drastically change the flavor of the dish by removing the smokiness. 

Information in this article comes from The New Food Lover’s Companion Fifth Edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst unless otherwise noted. 

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