If you’ve been wanting to add some pizazz to your kitchen playlist, then boy have I got a spice for you: paprika.
We know paprika as that red powder sold in little jars or tin cans and often associate it with Hungary, but beyond that, what is the stuff?
Paprika is just the powdered form of a variety of dried peppers or chilies, and ranges in flavor from sweet to spicy, depending on the nature of the pepper or chile from which it was derived.
And what does the country of Hungary have to do with it? Well, when Europeans brought peppers back to their homeland from America in the 1500s, it was the Hungarians who sun-dried and grinded them, thus making what we now know as paprika. While paprika is made all over, the best stuff is still thought to come from Hungary.
Paprika can be spicy, but it won’t burn your mouth off like cayenne powder. Rather, paprika offers a complex flavor and can act to literally warm your body (good to know for those cold winter months).
Great, so now that you have a short history lesson on paprika, how can you use the stuff aside from sprinkling it atop hummus or deviled eggs?
Well, one of my favorite ways is to use it with a heavy hand to build a vibrant tomato sauce that itself will help flavor chicken, pork, beef or even vegetables.
In this recipe, we’ll have paprika play a starring role in a hearty and healthful chicken entree whose sauce might just outshine the poultry itself.