Sweet Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika (pronounced "puh·pree·kuh"), Capsicum annuum, are also called sweet paprika, sweet smoked paprika, or smoked sweet paprika.
What is Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika is frequently used in the cooking of Hungary and Spain and has risen in popularity in the United States over the past few decades. Closely related to its cousin Hungarian Sweet Paprika, this Spanish paprika chile has been dried, smoked over wood fires and de-seeded. Because the seeds have been removed this does not pack much heat but it does have complex flavors and smoky undertones that are extremely desirable in dishes that call for that flavor but don't need heat. Smoked Paprika is a forgiving spice, so you may need more than you think to get a huge depth of flavor. It's perfect for those times when you're just looking for some subtle smokiness though!
History of Paprika
Paprika is indigenous to tropical areas of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies. In 1494 when Christopher Columbus returned from his second voyage to the New World, he presented paprika to the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. The King and Queen found these chiles a bit too spicy for their tastes so they passed them on to the monks at the Guadalupe monastery. In turn, these monks shared them with other monasteries throughout Spain and Portugal, but it was not until the 17th century that pimentón, the milled powder from these chile peppers, became more common in Spanish cuisine.
While paprika is probably more popular in Hungry, Spain is generally considered paprika's second heartland. Paprika grown in Hungary is usually sun dried while chiles prepared in the traditionally Spanish way are smoke dried carefully over the course of a few weeks over oak wood fires.
Spanish Paprika Cultivation
The pepper seeds are usually planted in March and harvested in late summer and early fall. Paprika chiles thrive in mild climates where the rain is plentiful. The flavor and heat levels can vary a bit even from the same farm from year to year depending on that year's growing season. Spanish Paprika is harvested between mid September and early November, depending on when they were planted, that season's temperatures, and the amount of rainfall the chiles experienced.
Next to their growing fields, most farmers have small smokehouses with concrete floors and wooden grids several feet above the ground to use in smoking the chiles. Once the paprika chiles are harvested, a fire from slow-burning oak planks is lit on the concrete floor and the peppers are laid out on the grid above the fire. The fire never produces flames, it only smolders, and the chiles are smoked for 10 - 15 days. The smoked dried peppers are removed from the smokehouse, stemmed and seeded and then milled by electrically powered stone wheels which must turn very slowly as heat from friction adversely affects the signature color and flavor of the sweet smoked paprika. The end result is a beautiful paprika with a silky-smooth texture.
Where is Our Smoked Paprika From
What does Smoked Paprika Taste Like
Rich in chile flavor and has a complexity and depth thanks to its smoky undertones.
How Hot is Smoked Paprika
These chiles are considered a mild chile and come it at 100 to 250 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
What is the Difference Between Smoked Paprika and Regular Paprika
The difference between the two is that Smoked Paprika is smoke dried over oak burning planks for 10-15 days which imparts a subtle smoky flavor while paprika is either sun dried or heat dried in commercial ovens. Both Smoked Paprika and Paprika are generally considered sweet paprika which means that they have both had their seeds removed prior to grinding. This process lessens the heat level of the chile pepper while also removing some of the bitterness present in the seeds.
Is Smoked Paprika and Chili Powder the Same
No. Chili powder is a blend made up of multiple chile peppers, spices, herbs and often salt while Smoked Paprika is a single type of chile pepper that has no other ingredients added (the exception being that some paprika powders may have an anti-caking agent added to prevent clumping). In addition Smoked Paprika has been smoked over oak wood planks for more than 10 days. Chile powders also tend to pack more heat than Smoked Paprika does.
How do You use Smoked Paprika
The smoky quality of this ground chile will pull you in and even just a pinch or two adds a captivating smoky aroma and flavor to nearly any dish you can imagine. Smoked Paprika is customarily used in making Spanish sausage such as chorizo. It's used in Andalusian cuisine and added to berza, which is a thick black bean soup, fish dishes, ham hocks, a red pepper sauce called "romesco", and a black sausage dish called "morcilla." This is a key spice in sofrito, a base used in many Spanish recipes.
In the United States, many competition barbecuers use Smoked Sweet Paprika as a secret ingredient in their pork rubs. It's a good chile powder to use with beans, in beef and lamb stews, in casseroles, and with chicken. Smoked Paprika is added to meat loaf, vegetables, rice, homemade sauces, soups, salad dressings, egg dishes and with other nightshade family members, especially potatoes and tomatoes.
Smoked Paprika pairs well with allspice, caraway, cardamom, garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, saffron, thyme and turmeric.
Some of our favorite recipes using Smoked Sweet Paprika are Sweet Pepper Relish, Grilled Home Fries, and Patatas Bravas.
Smoked Paprika Substitute
Other than La Vera Smoked Sweet Paprika there really isn’t another chile powder that can adequately be used. Sure you might find some online sources saying that you can use liquid smoke (really?) or Chipotle Chile Powder but Chipotle chiles tip the heat scale at 5,000 – 8,000 SHU. That’s way too hot. If you are just looking for the vibrant red color but not the heat you could go with another sweet paprika but know going into that choice you won’t get any smokiness.
|Also Called||Sweet paprika, sweet smoked paprika, or smoked sweet paprika|
|Recommended Uses||Use in egg dishes, meat loaf, potato dishes, vegetables, rice, homemade sauces, soups, salad dressings, and with tomatoes|
|Flavor Profile||Rich in chile flavor and has a complexity and depth thanks to its smoky undertones|
|Scoville Heat Units||100 – 250 SHU|
|Botanical Name||Capsicum annuum|
|Cuisine||Cajun, Creole, Hungarian and Spanish|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||6-12 Months|
|Country of Origin||Spain|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*