If you’ve ever tasted regular paprika, you know it doesn’t have much flavor. It’s used for coloring and mildly flavoring food, but even as a dried ground pepper, it doesn’t pack a punch.
Smoked paprika, aka Pimenton, is a different story. It comes from the same capsicum plant, however, it is dried by smoking with oak wood. Except it’s more delicious and every pantry needs a jar.
Smoked paprika is an mysterious, fragrant, smoky and delightful spice that adds a depth to dishes ranging from meatballs, to spice rubs, to tomato sauces. It comes in mild and hot flavors and I like using a mixture of both in my recipes.
It’s a simple way to elevate the flavor of a dish without a lot of effort.
If you live in a small town or city, you may not be able to find it at the grocery store. Trader Joe’s sells it, but the quality is questionable. You can buy it online – it will last a while. Here’s the link to my favorite brand of smoked paprika.
Here are few of my favorite smoked paprika recipes of all time:
Mark’s Bittman’s shrimp with smoked paprika (the recipe says hot, but that means hot smoked paprika). This is a great example of a simple spice that can make an ingredient sing. http://markbittman.com/recipe/simplest-and-best-shrimp-dish/
These smoked paprika meatballs are *insanely good.* I add an extra teaspoon of mild smoked paprika each in meatballs and in the tomato sauce.
For a vegetarian option, white beans + smoked paprika are a match made in heaven.
And finally, here’s my recipe for Smoked Paprika Rubbed Chicken. The rub is 3 ingredients so it’s very easy to assemble, and the depth of flavor is incredible.
- 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 whole chicken, cut up (2 boneless skinless breasts, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Turn oven on to 400.
- Place a cookie sheet to heat up in oven.
- In a small bowl, mix the paprika, garlic powder and thyme.
- Rub 1 to 1.5 spice mixture on each piece, along with salt, and 1 tbsp. olive oil each. You can let this sit a few hours or overnight, or you can bake it right away.
- Place in oven and bake 12-15 minutes for the breasts, and 45 minutes for the thighs or drumsticks.
- When finished, remove the chicken to a plate and let the meat rests for a few minutes. (meat should always rest after it's cooked - it allows for the juices to be redistributed and the protein to relax and become more tender.
- This recipe serves about 4 people. You can scale it down to less chicken if you are cooking for one.
Do you have smoked paprika in your pantry? What do you use it for?