Paprika, the multi-purpose spice

When I was a kid, Paprika was only use on top of shepherd pie, yes basic and for colour only. As I got older I came to realized that there are more uses for it than making a basic dish pop!

Pimenton Dulce Ahumado paprikaHOTlovefood

Paprika originally came from Hungary (note: it was brought to Hungary in the 17th century by the Turks). The Turks got it from the Spanish who got it from the South and Central American Indians in the 15th century.

Paprika is produced from ground red bell pepper or chili peppers. Until the early 20’s, this spice was only available as “hot”, this changed when a when a Szeged breeder found one plant that produced sweet fruit, it was then grafted onto other plants and voila: sweet Paprika! Today, paprika ranges from mild to hot, and flavours also vary from country to country, but almost all the plants grown produce the sweet variety.

One of best Paprika comes from Spain, with it great climate and centuries of cultivating they’ve become the “Paprika Aficionados’” of the world.

Paprika is principally used to season and color rice, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices. In North America, paprika is frequently sprinkled on dishes as garnish, but did you know the flavor is more effectively produced by heating it gently in oil? Next time you make a chili or meatloaf add a tablespoon to your recipe, you will be surprised at the depth of flavour it creates.

Smoked Spanish Paprika is available in two different versions; mild (Pimenton Dulce Ahumado) and very spicy (Pimentón Picante Ahumado.) Love Love Food now carries both varieties: mild and very spicy). Our Spanish paprika comes from Viriato, a region for which I find produces some of the best spices.

Did you know? Peppers for El Avion smoked paprikas are harvested by hand in September and smoke-dried over slow-burning oakwood for about two weeks. The smoked peppers are then sent to a mill where the stalks and the unwanted part of the core is removed, and then ground by electronically operated stone wheels, with care taken not to overheat the powder and taint the pure flavour and colour.

Love & Paprika