Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Home Smoked Paprika



I did say there was one more chilli post! I think this has really been the most exciting discovery of the 2011 chilli season - home smoked paprika.

We'd decided that we wanted to have a crack at smoking and drying the ripe Hungarian Hot Wax chillis. I gave them a rinse (to get rid of clinging cat fur - a natural hazard in our conservatory) cut a slit in each one to help the smoke penetrate and the flesh dry out, then hot smoked them over beech smoking dust for an hour.


After smoking them, they had a lovely aroma, but they were still very fleshy and "wet" - not good for keeping. I laid them on baking parchment and dried them out in the lowest possible oven, turning them a couple of times, until they were thoroughly desiccated. I let them cool before packing them in a net and hanging them up - so that air could continue to circulate around them.

I cut the stem off one and ran it through the spice grinder, in order to do a direct comparison with commercial pimenton. Other than the texture, which wasn't as fine, and the colour, less of a vibrant red, ours was a definite winner. It had a richer, sweeter, smokier aroma (very much, in fact, like really good bacon) and a more well-rounded flavour with a subtle heat to it. The commercial pimenton had a slightly acrid note at the back of the throat. Ours really is lovely stuff.


We tend to use a lot of pimenton, so we've been using our own wherever we would normally use commercial pimenton. A whole, smoked chilli, deseeded and sliced, makes a glorious addition to Nigella's bacon and tomato hash. Served with an omelette stuffed generously with pesto.


Sprinkled onto potatoes rubbed with olive oil, strewn with garlic and fresh thyme, it makes pretty much the best roast spuds ever...


... and better yet with chicken thighs nestled into the spuds and also sprinkled with the wondrous powder. With Jamie Oliver's tomato and chorizo salad on the side. An utterly perfect combination.


We have also been using our own chillis whenever a recipe called for chipotles. I got this carne con chilli recipe from Kavey, although I used ox cheeks (and didn't sieve the sauce - it was too good to waste!). I used a mixture of bought ancho chillis and smoked and dried hot wax. Divine flavour. The first night we had it with green rice (made from Tommi Mier's recipe - according to the blogosphere the proportions in the recipe are wrong, but mine turned out perfectly) and the second the leftovers were rolled into enchiladas. Delicious and comforting. And very superior, due to my divine chillis, naturally.

19 comments:

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

This is incredible. I would love to make my own smoked paprika, I adore that stuff.

Mary said...

I am truly impressed. I am a fan of pimenton but have never thought to make my own. The dishes in which you have used it are equally spectacular. All have been bookmarked for a good long look-see once the holiday has past. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Rachel said...

You always have such interesting and adventurous posts. Bookmarked this one to try next pepper garden season, for sure. And now, to rub the drool off my chin from those tempting pimenton photos.

wildtomato said...

That's so interesting! Next pepper season, I am going to do this. I only wish our coastal climate was good for growing peppers.

Foodycat said...

Leaf - you should definitely have a go.

Mary - have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Rachel - you have a good long time to plan! Happy Thanksgiving.

ali said...

Genius! I would never have thought to make this sort of thing from scratch but it sounds well worth the effort. Yum!

Hotly Spiced said...

I had never thought of making my own paprika! Well done. What an innovation.

Foodycat said...

Ali - thanks! It's one of those things that it time consuming rather than effortful.

Hotly spiced - thank you!

tori said...

Just gorgeous. Never thought to make my own, but am addicted to pimenton. You've inspired me. Thank you!

Su-Lin said...

You are amazing! I never would have thought of smoking my own paprika at home!

Joanne said...

So cool! Smoked paprika is one of my favorite spices...how awesome that it can be made at home!

Foodycat said...

Tori - thanks!

Su-Lin - aww schucks!

Joanne - it'd be even easier if you had a dehydrator.

Asmita said...

Wow, that's awesome to make paprika at home.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I stand in awe of you once more--making your own smoked paprika. ;-)
I just made a salad with paprika in the dressing that would have been fun to try with your homemade version.

Foodycat said...

Asmita - thanks!

Deb - that salad dressing would have been lovely with smoked paprika!

mscrankypants said...

Wow, you make your own bacon, make your own cheese, smoke your own paprika ... if I ever go on Survivor as a contestant, I'm bringing you with me :-).

Choclette said...

Oh I do love the way you give things a go. Our chillies are really fleshy so I haven't tried drying them, just making sauce. But yours look quite fleshy too, so maybe I should just try.

I grind spices in a coffee grinder, but they are never as fine as ones you can buy. Is a spice grinder something different?

Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

I would love to do this too. I must investigate smoking powder, I have one of those Cobb things for barbecuing ( used all of twice but I think i read I could use it for smoking so I should be less lazy and more adventurous) I was drooling reading all the dishes you use your pimenton for !

Foodycat said...

Cranky - I am good when there is a well-stocked pantry!

Choclette - my spice grinder is a coffee grinder. I can get things very fine with some rock salt added as an abrasive.

Joanna - our smoker gets quite a lot of use. We picked up the smoking dusts at an outdoor sports fair - they go a long way!

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