Paprika pepper is native to the West Indies and the South American continent, as is cayenne pepper. The paprika we but comes in powder form and its colours range from a bright red to a brown-orange, similar to cayenne pepper. It isn’t as pungent as cayenne pepper, and ranges from mild to hot. The mild form of paprika comes from the USA and Spain. These countries tend to produce sweet paprika pepper. The country most famous for its paprika production is Hungary.
Paprika pepper plants were introduced into Hungary by the Turks in the 16th or 17th century and it has been cultivated there ever since. Paprika is rich in vitamin C and one pepper has 7 times more than that found in an orange. However, much of this is lost in the process of drying it and making it into a powder. It has antibacterial properties, and like cayenne pepper, Paprika is a natural stimulant. It has much the same medicinal qualities as cayenne, but these are not as potent. It can help circulation and is good for digestion, and can help normalize blood pressure.
In Hungary, paprika is grown in Szeged and Kalocsa where there is a paprika museum and a paprika festival, held annually in October. If you go there you can see the peppers hanging outside houses to dry, as you can  on some Greek islands.
Paprika is used as a food colouring and as a flavouring in some cheeses. In Spain it is an ingredient of spicy sausages like chorizo.
Below is a recipe for traditional Hungarian goulash (gulyas) with csipetke (Hungarian dumplings).

600 gr beef (shin or shoulder is fine), cubed
2 tbsps oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
leaves from 2 celery sticks
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 green peppers, deseeded and sliced
2-3 medium potatoes, sliced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 bay leaves slightly torn to release flavour
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Heat the oil and fry the onions for 5 mins then sprinkle them with the paprika and fry, lowering the heat as paprika must not be allowed to burn, or the dish will be destroyed! Stir constantly to prevent this happening.
Add the beef and seal on all sides. If the beef doesn’t have much juice, add a cup or two of water.
Now add the garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaves and seasonings and simmer, covered, on a low heat for 1½ hours.
Add carrots, parsnips, celery leaves and more salt if necessary. And add 2 or 3 cups of water.
When the meat and vegetables are almost cooked (about 1 hour), add the tomatoes and green pepper.
Cook for another 15 minutes. If you think the sauce needs to be thicker, remove the lid.

1 small egg, beaten well
pinch salt
1 tsp water

Add flour and salt to the beaten egg until you have a stiff dough, add water as necessary. Make into thin pieces, about 1 cm long and add to the boiling soup. Boil for 5-10 minutes. These will thicken the soup, so if you are adding them you won’t need to remove the lid from your goulash.
Serve with crusty bread for a traditional Hungarian meal.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

No comments:

Post a Comment