Paprika (Capsicum annuum)
Paprika is usually used as the dried pepper ground to a powder. It tends to be larger than other chillies with a milder sweeter flavour. When dried and ground to a powder it has a pleasant, aromatic aroma. This spice adds real depth in colour to dishes as well as a sweetness unlike other chillies.
This spice is commonly from either Hungary or Spain, each having its own characteristics. Hungarian paprika tends to be more spicy. It is used a lot in their cooking and considered to be their national spice.
Spanish paprika is known as pimentos. It has a sweeter flavour and the Spanish name for it is pimentos. The Spanish people like to smoke it slowly over a fire. Once done and ground to a powder, it gives a lovely sweet, smokey flavour which can really bring food alive.
Antioxidant- The antioxidant levels found in this spice are high , this is because it is rich in vitamin A and E, and also carotenoids which are a type of pigment found in plants that helps fight free radicals in the body due to oxidative stress.
Skin health- Vitamin A is essential for good skin health, this spice is packed with Beta Carotene that gets converted to vitamin A which is great in preventing lines and wrinkles. It is also packed with ant-bacterial properties that are effective against skin issues from bacterial infections.
Vitamins- A, C, E, K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic acid, Choline, Betaine.
Minerals- Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium.
Paprika Spice is readily available online and can be found in all forms.These quite often come in a handy jar or bottle that is convenient for the spice rack at home. Paprika does not store very well and it is advisable to buy it in lesser quantities and use what you have then replenish your stock. When storing, it does need to be kept out of direct sunlight, and in a dark cool cupboard.
So, as you can imagine, there are many ways paprika is used around the world for seasoning and adding rich colour to dishes. Some of the most popular ways to add it are in stews, soups, goulash, and rice. It is also used to spice up sausages, such as chorizo. It is also used simply as a garnish or just sprinkled over soups.
It is necessary to remember the different common types of paprika as they have their own uses. Hungarian paprika being the most spicy is used to make the classic dish Goulash amongst other dishes. The Spanish paprika is milder and sweeter and can be used more liberally. It also makes a great garnish. Smoked paprika is delicious when added to Paella and really adds flavour to chorizo sausage.
For me, I love the flavour of paprika. It really brings food alive and gives a delicious, vibrant flavour and colour to your cooking. Give this chicken recipe below a try. It tastes fantastic with some pasta or rice.
Serves 4 people
4 medium chicken fillets skinned
1 red sweet pepper sliced into strips
1 yellow sweet pepper sliced into strips
1 large onion peeled and diced
3 large cloves of garlic fine chopped
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon paprika powder
2 cups chicken stock
Small bunch of chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot add the chicken breasts and cook until they go slightly golden in colour. Remove from the pan to a plate.
Using the same frying pan with the excess oil in it, add the onions, pepper and the garlic. Cook these on a medium heat for around 10 minutes or until cooked.
Add the tomato puree and the paprika. Stir in until blended with the other ingredients. Then add the stock and bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
Now leave to simmer for another 7-8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the parsley over it and serve with some rice or pasta.