Paprika is a popular seasoning in many cuisines and is made from dried red fruits of the plant Capsicum Annuum, called bell pepper or sweet pepper.
A rust-red, mild to hot spice, it originated in Mexico, was brought to Spain in the 16th century, and was first produced in Hungary – its spiritual home – in the 17th century. Here, Matthew Sussex, the lecturer at Highbury College who mentored a team of students into the 2018 finals of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, demonstrates the spice’s versatility with five fabulous ways for incorporating it into dishes…
- Traditional Hungarian Goulash
I’m married to a Hungarian so this is a dish I have learnt and developed over the years. Start by sealing the beef in a little oil then remove from the pot and sweat down some onions and garlic. Add in some smoked paprika, chopped tomatoes and paste. Return the beef to the pot, add some peppers, herbs and cover with water or stock and gently simmer for a few hours. Goulash is traditionally soup and my late grandmother used to serve it with savoury cheese scones
- Paella with sweet paprika, chicken and clams
This is another one pan wonder and great for al fresco dining with a cool crisp glass of rosé. I start by sweating onion and garlic in a paella pan, add some chicken thighs, diced chorizo, paella rice, sweet paprika and saffron. Cook out for a couple of minutes and add the stock, usually a ratio of 3:1. When the rice and chicken is nearly cooked, add mussels, clams and calamari.
- Hot smoked paprika, lentil and chickpea broth
A healthy and wholesome winter warmer soup. Start by frying onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Add some diced chorizo, red lentils, smoked paprika, a can each of chopped tomatoes and chickpeas. Vegetable stock to cover and simmer for around 30-45 minutes and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and freshly chopped coriander.
- Turkey stroganoff
Marinate some turkey strips with ground paprika. Fry the turkey strips for 3-4 minutes until sealed and remove from the pan. Cook a diced onion and garlic for a couple of minutes then add a little more paprika and cook out. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine then add some chicken stock. Add some diced red peppers and return the turkey strips. Reduce down the stock by half and fold in some crème fraîche, Dijon mustard, cornichons and tarragon
- Paprika seasoning mix
This came about in a practical session at Highbury College and I’ve been using it ever since. Combine 1tbsp smoked paprika, 1tsp ground coriander, 1tsp toasted and crushed fennel seeds, 1 clove of garlic, minced, and freshly grated zest of a lemon. Add seasoning and rapeseed oil to make a marinade. This works perfectly with chicken, fish and vegetables or as a marinade for kebabs on the BBQ
About Matthew Sussex
Matthew is a professional cookery lecturer and competition mentor at Highbury College in Portsmouth. He mentored a team of students who went on to win a bronze medal in the Country Range Student Chef Challenge at Hotelympia in 2018. He has worked at Highbury College for the past six years, most recently, as lecturer to full-time students teaching on a range of courses from level 1-3. Prior to that, Matthew was head chef at the Hotel du Vin, Winchester, and worked in three AA Rosette country house hotels in both West Sussex and Cheshire.