Allyson Gofton - Paprika with Panache

Publish Date
Friday, 29 May 2015, 9:17PM
By Allyson Gofton

Paprika know how:

  • Strictly speaking ( for the  purists) , recipes featuring paprika should indicate whether it should be hot or sweet, however finding a selection here is very hard.
  • Smoked paprika from La Vera, Spain, was the first spice to be awarded Denominacion d’Origen status in 1993.   
  • Smoked paprika has an extra depth of flavour and has only become popular comparatively recently.  It is usually smoked over oak in Spain, but Hawke’s Bay company Orcona smokes its paprika over Manuka.
  • Paprika doesn’t release its flavour until it is heated, so sprinkling it over cold dishes as a garnish merely gives colour not taste.
  • It is commonly used in Spanish (good paprika is the key to a great paella), Portuguese, Turkish and some Indian cooking in soups, stews, vegetables and casseroles.
  • Before mixing, cook the paprika in a dash of oil to release the flavour…fried quickly with garlic and a bay leaf, it enhances Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli. 
  • With smoked paprikas, the dulce smoked variety is ideal with potatoes, rice and fish dishes.  Use bittersweet smoked paprika with meat, bean and game dishes, and the spicy picante with strongly flavoured garlic-enhanced dishes.

Smoked Paprika Lamb In White Wine
This classic-style casserole is full bodied and flavoursome, perfect for a winter’s night served up with Garlicky mashed potatoes. This dish is ideal for a dinner party of 8 people, so to serve four, do cut the quantities in half.

Serves: 8

2 kg lamb leg, boned
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, sliced
750 ml bottle Riesling
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced
Pared rind 1 orange
1 tblsp whole peppercorns
2-3 tblsp thyme leaves
600 grams pickled pork belly, cut into 4cm squares
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika (see Cook’s Tip)
1 cup chicken stock


  1. Cut the lamb into 3cm cubes and place in a non-metallic dish with the sausages, wine, garlic, thyme, orange rind and peppercorns. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight. Strain and reserve the wine.

  2. Brown the lamb and sausage pieces in a hot pan in oil or butter until well browned and transfer to a casserole. Brown the pickled pork and add to the lamb.

  3. Add the onions to the pan and brown gently, before tossing in the paprika and cooking only until fragrant, about one minute. Add the chicken stock and reserved wine and flavourings and bring to the boil. Pour over the lamb and cover.

  4. Cook at 160ºC for 1 hour, then remove the lid and continue cooking for a further 1 hour or until the lamb is tender. For a thicker sauce, pour off the cooking liquid to a saucepan and simmer until reduced by 1/3rd. Pour over the lamb and season if wished and serve a garnished with herbs and accompanied with your favourite winter vegetables.

Cooks Tips:

  • Smoked paprika is now available readily from Masterfoods and you’ll find it in the spice section of your supermarket. If you do not have it, use plain paprika.

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