Eating for Life | Spanish variety of paprika is a smoky hit

12/11/2012 7:59 PM

05/16/2014 8:31 PM

Chances are you already have Hungarian paprika stashed in your spice rack since its warm flavor and fiery color is typically sprinkled over deviled eggs, hummus-style dips and potato salad.

But a recent fascination with tapas has an increasing number of chefs and home cooks clamoring for the smokier Spanish variety.

The Star’s

Smoked Paprika Chicken Stew

gets its smoky flavor from Spanish paprika. Often labeled pimenton, Spanish paprika is made of red peppers that have been slowly smoked and dried over oak fires.

Once ground, the resulting flavor may range from very mild and sweet to more pungent and spicy. If the type of pepper is not specified, it is probably a sweet smoked paprika. But if you’re not sure, use about half of the smoked paprika called for in the recipe, then add more to taste toward the end of cooking..

Paprika is also high in vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron-rich foods. Paprika also contains capsaicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory.

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Serving suggestion:

If desired, serve stew over hot cooked polenta or brown rice, cooked according to package directions.

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Shopping tip:

An increasing number of grocery stores are adding smoked paprika to their spice lineup. We found cellophane bags of the spice sold in the produce section at some Hy-Vee stores. McCormick brand sells bottles in larger grocery stores.

Most commercial varieties of paprika are heat-treated. For maximum nutritional benefit, look for organic versions.

• Storage tip:

Store in a cool, dry place for no more than 6 months. When adding to dishes, heat helps release the flavors, but only add at the end of cooking to ensure the flavor remains.

Smoked Paprika Chicken Stew

Makes 6 servings 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 red onion, chopped 2 red bell peppers, chopped (or 1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow or orange bell pepper) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup sliced fresh button mushrooms 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika, divided 1 (14 1/2- ounce) can diced tomatoes without salt, not drained 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can lower sodium chicken broth 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Stir in chicken and sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon paprika. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Stir in remaining paprika and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, cannellini beans, broth, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir well. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and vegetables are tender.

Per serving: 258 calories (16 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 44 milligrams cholesterol, 29 grams carbohydrates, 29 grams protein, 74 milligrams sodium, 9 grams dietary fiber.

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