I’ve found myself using a lot of paprika since I moved to Poland – to think I used to only sprinkle it on top of deviled eggs! When La Chinata asked if I would like to sample their smoked paprika powder, I was interested. (The CPA in me feels a need to disclose that I was provided two tins, sweet and hot, of their paprika at no charge and with no obligation on my part. If it wasn’t too my liking, I would have simply conveyed this to the company and not mentioned them here, but that was not the case.)
I’ve only had smoked paprika once before. It was from a top, American purveyor of spices, and I found the smoke flavor overpowering. I was delighted that the smoke is a note in the La Chinata smoked paprika, but the peppers are still the main flavor.
The first recipe I tried with this paprika was a veggie cream cheese spread. I mixed up a big batch; we’ve been eating it on rye crisps, celery; I think it would be great on bagels or crackers too. I love the flavors and the color. Paprika is right up there with garlic in the must have seasonings category.
This is the sort of recipe that you can use as a starting point, adapting to suit your own tastes and what you have on hand – maybe finely diced celery or radish, other herbs. I’d love to hear what you add to it.
1/2 red bell pepper
1 – 2 cloves roasted garlic
1 green onion (white and green parts), finely minced
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
pinch of dried thyme (or the leaves stripped from 2 or 3 small stalks of fresh thyme)
8 ounces (250 g) cream cheese, softened
- Wanting the mellow, sweetness of a roasted red pepper, I finely diced the pepper and sauteed it in a little olive oil. You could also wrap the 1/2 pepper in foil and toss it in the oven when you roast the garlic, and then dice after it’s cooked. I still had the green onion to add a little bit of crunch to the texture.
- Add the pepper, roasted garlic, green onion, paprika, salt, pepper, and thyme the cream cheese.
- You can stir until thoroughly combined, or if you want a smoother texture, use a food processor.