During my young and impressionable years (yes, I had them and no I'm not so old I can't remember), I thought paprika was something you dusted on deviled eggs to give them a little color. Thankfully, time and cooking experience have changed my tune somewhat.
I've learned that sweet, hot and smoked paprika can all be used in a variety of dishes and each have a distinctive flavor depending on where they're produced and what kind of pepper was used. In my opinion, Hungarian sweet paprika is in a class of its own and that's what went into the pork stew we enjoyed last night.
A take on a recipe in Food & Wine, I used chunks of pork shoulder rather than the tenderloin called for, the difference being a more tender result thanks to a longer cooking period. The porky flavor's further enhanced thanks to the addition of onions, green bell pepper and paprika and I used "cook's license" and included diced canned tomatoes and beef stock rather than chicken, because that's what I had on hand.
Finished at the last minute with sour cream to thicken and enrich the sauce and served on buttered egg noodles greened up with a chopped fresh parsley, it's a meal fit for a hungry bunch fresh off the slopes, or as in our case, Big Guy after a day hiking Drift Creek National Wilderness Area.
By the way, be sure to buy a good quality sweet paprika for this dish and take the time to cook it for a minute with the onions and peppers before returning the pork to the pot and adding liquids. The heat activates the subtle sweet flavor of the paprika. Also, for a true "Hungarian" experience, try and brown the pork cubes in bacon fat instead of oil if you can because after all isn't everything better with bacon?
Pork Paprikash Adapted from Food & Wine
3 tablespoons bacon fat, divided
1-1/2 pounds pork shoulder cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 jumbo green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1-1/2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
1-1/2 cups good quality low sodium beef stock
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350. Heat half the bacon fat in a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season pork cubes liberally with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Brown in batches in hot fat until rich golden brown on all sides. Remove from pot and repeat until all pork is browned.
Add remaining bacon fat to pot and add onion and green pepper. Sauté until vegetables are softened. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper and paprika to the pot. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Return pork to the pot along with tomatoes and beef stock. Bring to a boil, cover and place in oven for 1-1/2 hours, removing cover after 1 hour to reduce sauce. Remove from oven when pork is very tender. Stir in sour cream. Serve over egg noodles. Makes 4 servings.
A year ago - One Pot Spaghetti
Two years ago - Ravioli in Sherry Mushroom Alfredo
Three years ago - Leg of Lamb Provencal
Four years ago - Pork Medallions with Mushroom Madeira Sauce