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I first tried this product when I received it in a Christmas hamper from a relative, who had collected various foods for me while in Spain. Ever since, I have made sure to always have a can in the cupboard, as it quickly became one of my favorite ingredients.
It works beautifully both as a central flavour in a dish and also as a background, the smoky taste is beautiful and it also adds a pleasant heat (more than one would expect from paprika, the taste is gorgeous but very strong, not much is needed to add flavour to a whole dish).
It is a great ingredient for people like me who like to invent recipes as they go along, and can be added to favorite recipes such as pasta sauce to give them a whole new angle.
Although this product is relatively expensive it will probably last quite a long time, I have only had to replace mine about twice a year and I use it very often.
I even put it in baked beans. Try it. It's amazing.
La Chinata Smoked Sweet Paprika comes complete with a 'Delia's Cheat Ingredient' sticker on the tin which was enough to convince me to buy it in the first place, I adore smoked flavours and also use a lot of paprika in cooking so it made sense for me to give it a try.
It comes in a lovely little tin which has an old fashioned Mediterranean appearance, it's one of those tins where you have to prise off the small circular lid with the back of a knife but this is very easy to do and requires very little effort once you've gotten the knack of inserting the knife correctly.
Opening the tin you'll see the the paprika looks exactly the same as the normal paprika you might buy from the Schwartz brand, it's the aroma rising from the tin that is so much more special. You see it's a much sweeter smell than standard paprika and it has a distinct smokiness that I adored from the very first moment I opened my very first tin of this La Chinata paprika.
I must advise you to use this fairly sparingly in cooking, like paprika it has a subtle peppery, earthy flavour but the fact that this has been smoked means that the spice is particularly flavoursome and it can easily overwhelm more delicate flavours if you are too heavy handed with it. The paprika itself is sandy and easy to dispense from the tin using a teaspoon or set of measuring spoons, although if you have wider than average spoons then you might struggle a little to correctly measure the amount you want to use.
I find the smoked flavour of the paprika enhances meaty dishes best, just last night I used some in a beef stew and it added a delicious sweet dimension to the meal and likewise when I used it instead of normal paprika for a goulash it completely changed the basic flavour of the dish. For this reason I'd advise you to think carefully before deciding to replace plain paprika as it can alter the dish beyond recognition, although do be adventurous with it as sometimes it enhances the tastes and can bring alive an otherwise dull meal.
I have also used this smoked paprika mixed with breadcrumbs to coat chicken and fish, it worked excellently on the chicken and gave it a delicious sweet flavour although I did find it a little overpowering when used with the blander fish. Last week I added a generous pinch of the paprika to the cooking water while boiling some rice, which I then allowed to cool to make a fruity rice salad. The paprika flavour was absorbed by the rice as it was cooking and I was left with such a deliciously fragrant rice that I didn't need to add any dressing whatsoever to the mixture, a definite bonus when you're dieting - which reinforces the rule that while trying to lose weight you should aim for stronger flavours which will satisfy your taste buds and hunger much better.
I certainly recommend La Chinata Smoked Sweet Paprika to anyone who enjoys cooking and enhancing their food with mild spices. This is such a versatile ingredient that it shall be in my pantry for a long time to come, I even sprinkle a little over a mixed salad for added flavour and have before now mixed a very small amount in with egg mayo to create a wonderfully exotic twist on the English classic. Also, mixed with a little Olive Oil and brushed onto steak it makes for a flavoursome and rich marinade that is so much healthier than any supermarket bought sachet and tastier to boot.
A 70g tin in Sainsbury's is £1.79, which sounds expensive compared to plain paprika but I think this is reasonable as the spice will last for a long time. My first tin lasted me for three months as it needs to be used so sparingly, although I'm discovering new uses on practically a daily basis so I don't imagine my current tin will match that!