An Ingredient Addiction

La Chinata, Smoked Paprika

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This is at present my favourite ingredient, and has been for many years. I first came across it when I purchased the cook book from The Sugar Club by Peter Gordon (Get a copy) . This was at the beginning of the Pacific Rim cooking phase (craze). In the recipes smoked paprika was called for and in one of the photos within the book a small red tin was on the shelf. At this time (1997) it was nowhere to be seen on the shelves of your local store. It was a year or so later when one of my suppliers dropped a tin off as a sample.

To have one format of the pepper is great but to have THREE is incredible!! The range has consists of sweet “Dulce”, Bitter Sweet “Agridulce” (used by Spanish master butchers to make chorizo) and finally hot “Picante”

When you open the distinctive tin a wonderful aroma is met. When I hear that people say the first time they tried crack cocaine they became addicted, this is what happened to me when I savoured the incredible aroma.

A wonderful full bodied smokey scent fills the kitchen when using it in stews, fajitas and my favourite is in chorizo (more about sausage making later!) . Not only does it gives your food an amazing flavour it also has an intense colour which is very dominant in the dish (try not to get it on your new white top!)

Smoked Paprika powder is the product resulting from the milling of ripe red peppers, dried in a traditional process with either oak wood or holm oak wood. It is cultivated and produced in the region of La Vera, located north of the province of Cáceres1, Spain. This paprika powder is protected by the Guarantee of Origin “Pimentón de la Vera” certifying its lineage and quality. (taken from the La Chinata web site)

Other Brands (or attempts!)

It is so sad that there are suppliers who put “Smoked Paprika” on the front of their jars/tins.

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All three of these jars were a complete disappointment. The aroma on opening the jars was pleasant enough but did not have that wow hit that took you to your local Tapas bar. In fact after a week or so the aroma was barely present. As for colour, well if you are lucky, it may be fresh to the stores shelves and has a reddish tinge to it. The jar I purchased from ASDA had an insipid orange hue. (The flavour reflected the colour!). How daft are these suppliers by putting a spice that has a vibrant colour in a GLASS JAR…DUH!!! Now to price

  • La Chinata £2.00 for 70g (you can get this at Sainsburys’)
  • Sainsburys’ own 50g £1.00
  • ASDA 40g  70p
  • Schwartz 40g  £1.50
  • There are others available but am yet to test. Waitrose looks good at £2.00 for 55g

 

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