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chilis, peppers, paprika

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Tom Kurth View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 October 2015 at 15:43
Just read the resurrected thread on paprika hendl which brings to mind some questions and observations:

Grew ancho/poblano peppers in the garden this summer. An indistinct memory informs me that poblano is the name for the fresh pepper of this species, used for chili rellenos, and ancho is the name of the same pepper, dried. Also, the ancho is supposedly the chili used for 'authentic' Mexican chili powder. Can anyone confirm these for me?

Made a pot of chili last weekend using these same peppers, dried and ground, in lieu of store-bought chili powder. Used about 3 times as much of my home ground powder because it didn't seem very hot. Gave the chili a wonderfully rich flavor with only mild heat. Anybody have input on this?

Occasionally, in the greenhouse where I usually purchase my plants, I see a 'paprika' variety. I have heard that the typical paprika you get in American groceries is pure dreck. Does anyone know what variety(ies) would be used to grow to make a more authentic paprika powder?

Finally, I've heard of 'sweet Hungarian' and 'hot Hungarian' paprika and 'Spanish paprika.' Can anyone give me more information on these?
Best,
Tom

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2015 at 17:59
Here's the short version, Tom.

Yes, when you dry a Poblano it becomes an Ancho. In either form, it's a relatively mild pepper. I use it often, ground, as a chili powder. But I doubt it's authentic Mexican. There isn't enough heat, as you note.k

Poblanos are a relatively mild chili, measuring only 1,000 to 1,500 SHUs. To put that in perspective, Cayenne runs 30-50.000; Jalapenos go 2,500 to 10,000; Serranos are 10-20.000; and Habaneros are 300,000 to 500,000.

Commercial chili powders, unless specifically identified otherwise, are blends. They almost always contain some cayenne, in greater or lesser amounts, and usually include garlic and salt as well.

Paprika gets a little more complicated. Although there are varieties often identified as paprika peppers, paprika, in Hungary, is made in a wide range of heats, from sweet to blow the roof of your mouth off. Each is produced from a different chile.

Spanish paprika is the most common type found in jars in the spice section, and is thus the one most cooks are familiar with. To me it always tastes kind of stale, compared to good Hungarian types. It's one of two food items that, ironically, the Spanish are particularly known for, yet their offerings do not top the heap. The other item is saffron, the best of which is grown in Iran and Afganistan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2015 at 11:52
The tradition is that Mexican food is hot,yes, there are some hot foods but , in general, the foods are not hot, the salsas and side dishes are where the spicy stuff is.
In my experience, the average Mexican uses very little more hot peppers than the average U.S. resident.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 November 2015 at 17:41
    With paprika, there's different grades...which are attributed different flavors and colors.  I will quote a decent article I found and the web, as well as link the page.


What's the Difference? Paprika

Hot, sweet, smoked, plain, Hungarian, Spanish – what are the differences between types of paprika?

Paprika is a powder made from grinding the pods of various kinds of Capsicum annuum peppers. Used for flavor and color, it is the fourth most consumed spice in the world and often appears in spice mixes (like the bahārāt we posted earlier this week), rubs, marinades, stews, chilis, and as a garnish. Depending on the variety of pepper and how it is processed, the color can range from bright red to brown and the flavor from mild to spicy. Therefore, it is helpful to know the distinct qualities that each type of paprika can bring to a dish.

• "Regular" or "plain" paprika

Most of the paprika sold in grocery stores is simply labeled "paprika." Its origins may be Hungarian, Californian, or South American, and it is sometimes mixed with other chiles like cayenne. This paprika tends to be neither sweet nor hot and is a suitable garnish for things like deviled eggs or wherever you want some color.

&bull Hungarian paprika

Paprika is considered the national spice of Hungary and it appears in the country's most celebrated dish, goulash. Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprikas have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat. The eight grades of Hungarian paprika are különleges ("special quality"; mild and most vibrant red),csípősmentes csemege (delicate and mild),csemege paprika (similar to the previous but more pungent), csípős csemege (even more pungent), édesnemes ("noble sweet"; slightly pungent and bright red), félédes (semi-sweet with medium pungency), rózsa (mildly pungent and pale red), and erős(hottest and light brown to orange). In the US, what is marketed as Hungarian sweet paprika is usually the édesnemes variety.

• Spanish paprika or pimentón

Although generally less intense that Hungarian paprika, Spanish paprika can range from dulce(sweet and mild) to agridulce (bittersweet and medium hot) to picante (hot), depending on the type of peppers used (round or long), whether the seeds are removed, and how they are processed. In Spain's La Vera region, farmers harvest and dry the chiles over wood fires, creating smoked paprika or pimentón de La Vera. Smoked paprika should be used in paella and dishes where you want a deep, woodsy flavor.

If you have a recipe that calls for paprika without specifying which kind, you can usually get by with using Hungarian sweet paprika. But also consider what type of color, sweetness, pungency, or heat you'd like to add and experiment with the wide world of paprika varieties!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 November 2015 at 08:04
Nice article, Dan. Thanks for posting it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 November 2015 at 16:40
Thanks for the info guys. I purchase most of my spices at a little store in the next town. Generally, what Laraine doesn't have, she will try to find for you. But if you don't know what you are looking for, it's a little hard to ask for it.
Best,
Tom

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2015 at 08:37
   Brook, I think it would also be interesting to note what grade paprika was used by people who had unfavorable results...such as Rod's experience when he made the hendle recipe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2015 at 09:21
Other than being old and stale, I can't think how any paprika would result in unfavorable results.

I've used Spanish, in a pinch, when making paprikas dishes. While certainly lacking the depth of flavor of Hungarian, they were still good meals.

Were I unfamiliar with Hungarian paprika, I wouldn't find anything wrong with using the Spanish. So I believe there must be more to Rod's lack of success.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2015 at 09:25
OK, just reread Rod's post. He says, right there, that the paprika had gone bad.

From his description I'd say the ground paprika had sat in a warehouse for some time even before it was canned. So, despite an expriation date a year out, it had oxidized and lost it's flavor, probably leaving only bitterness behind.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 November 2015 at 09:30
   good points
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