There are lots of ingredients I’m happy to skimp on, but paprika isn’t one of them. It’s worth spending a little bit extra on something which, when you take the lid off, you think ‘phwoar’ now this is exciting. So when I was at the Boqueria Market a couple of weeks ago, I did just that, and bought myself some new tins to replace the dusty dregs in my store cupboard.
There are three main types of Spanish paprika or pimentón: sweet (dulce), hot (picante) and bittersweet (agridulce) – all of which are usually smoked (ahumado). Paprika varieties from Eastern Europe (often Slovakia) tend to be unsmoked, with a deeper colour which holds well during slow-cooking.
Now, a paprikash is a Hungarian dish, so technically an Eastern European paprika would’ve been most accurate. But this wasn’t going to stop me from trying out my new pimentón agridulce ahumado, with a little dash of picante. It’s a great dish to make a big batch of, and then freeze individual portions for some treaty freelance lunches for one.
Enjoyed last night with El Pinsapo Rioja, currently reduced to £5.49 in Tescos (until 24.11.14). Really delicious, exceptionally good value, and perfect with Spanish-paprika flavours.
Serves 4 (generously)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 chicken thighs
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp bittersweet smoked paprika
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tbsp plain flour
4 tomatoes, diced (sundried tomatoes make a nice addition)
400ml chicken stock
2 tbsp sour cream
Flat leaf parsley, optional
Salt and pepper, to season
1. Pour the oil into a big pan and get it really hot. Put in the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook until the skin has turned a lovely golden colour. Flip over the thighs, and cook the underside just long enough to remove any pinkness. Remove the thighs from the pan using a slotted spoon, and put them on a plate to one side.
2. Put the onions into the pan, and cook in the same oil the chicken has just been cooking in. After 10 minutes, the onions will have softened. At this point, add the garlic and cook. Then stir in the paprika and the flour.
3. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the tomatoes, and then pour the chicken stock over everything. Put the lid on, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for 35 minutes – either bubbling away on the hob, or in the oven at 180C.
4. Use two forks to pull the chicken off the bone, leaving the shredded chicken in the sauce, and removing the leftover thigh bones from the pan. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with brown or white rice, or semolina durum wheat orzo (as in the photograph, weirdly cheap at the corner shop). Top with an extra dollop of sour cream, and some flat leaf parsley.