Paprika is a wonderful spice made from the air-dried fruits of the chili pepper family. Often associated with Hungarian cuisine, paprika can range from mild to hot on the heat index. There’s also a smoked paprika that has a unique earthy flavor. On the heat index paprika is usually considered milder than cayenne pepper and chili pepper.
In answer to the question is paprika a flavoring or a garnish the answer is both! In the United States paprika is frequently sprinkled on food as a garnish after the food is prepared. Deviled eggs and potato salad are two examples of food often garnished with paprika. Paprika improves the food’s appearance but adds little to the flavor of the dish.
To release the flavor of paprika most effectively the spice should be heated gently in oil or brushed on meat, poultry or fish (as a rub) before cooking so the flavor will be released during the cooking process.
Hungary is a major producer of paprika. Hungarian paprika is bright red and is considered somewhat sweeter than the paprika grown in other climates and soils. Paprika is often used in Hungarian food as is cream and sour cream. Other staples of Hungarian food include onions, cabbage, potatoes, noodles and caraway seeds.
The Hungarian national dish is stew which is called goulash. The following recipe is for a Beef Goulash that is flavored with a tablespoon of paprika, caraway seeds, garlic, and marjoram. This stew also contains potatoes and makes a hearty meal.
- 3 cups chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless round steak
- 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 quart water
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon beef-flavored bouillon granules
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Add olive oil to 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven and warm over medium heat until hot.
- Add onion; cook about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Add beef, tomato paste, and paprika; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- For a low sodium version, use low-sodium tomato paste and low sodium bouillon granules.
Another Hungarian-inspired dish is Paprika Chicken which also is flavored with a tablespoon of paprika, as well as sour cream and dry sherry. I have used fresh mushrooms and dehydrated mushrooms that have been rehydrated in this dish with equal success. I like this served over noodles.
The chicken breasts are pounded between sheets of was paper to flatten them slightly. The chicken breasts are then lightly coated with flour and cooked in butter in a skillet until browned on each side. The chicken is removed to the oven to keep it warm.
Onions and mushrooms are cooked in the same skillet until soft.
Paprika is added to the pan (remember it needs to be heated to release its flavor) and the sherry is poured in to deglaze the pan. Sour cream is combined with water and flour and added to the pan to make a sauce. When the sauce is hot, the chicken is returned to the pan and coated with the sauce.
The finished dish, served with noodles, is so delicious!
Here’s the recipe for Paprika Chicken.
- 6 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
- All-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Pound chicken breasts between sheets of wax paper to flatten slightly.
- Coat both sides lightly with seasoned flour.
- Melt butter in a heavy skillet until sizzling.
- Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on each side. Remove to oven to keep warm.
- Cook mushrooms and onions in same skillet until soft.
- Stir in paprika, pour in sherry and stir to deglaze the pan.
- Combine sour cream, water and flour. Add to pan and heat. Do not boil.
- When sauce is hot, return chicken to pan and turn to coat with sauce.
- Serve immediately.
- This is great served over noodles or rice.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our journey to Hungary via food. It’s easy to understand why goulash is their national dish once you’ve tasted this wonderful stew! Paprika Chicken fits the comfort food category with its delicious creamy sauce and is another company-worthy meal.
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
Link parties with www.southernsavvystyle.net, www.stonegableblog.com, and www.makeaheadmealsforbusymoms.com.