Tag Archives: Pork

Paprika - Smoked, Sweet, Hot

Paprika – some like it sweet, smoked or hot

Sweet, smoked or hot – paprika spice comes in different flavours and colours but one thing is sure we love it.

I mentioned before that I’m pretty partial to smoked paprika and as a result many of my dishes tend to include a liberal sprinkling of this heavenly spice.

Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried fruits of bell pepper or chilli pepper varieties or mixtures thereof. It is often used for flavour and colour, and turns out to be the fourth most consumed spice in the world.

Until recently I had some Spanish smoked paprika which is rather mild in heat but has a distinctive oak flavour. I’ve yet to find smoked paprika around Johannesburg and I’m always on the look out for this spice on my overseas travels. On my last trip to Austria, I finally managed to find Rigler’s, a shop in Salzburg that stocked smoked paprika – but as my luck would have it the shop was closed when we arrived on the Saturday and many shops were closed on Sunday.

Rigler's Salzburg spice deli
Rigler’s Salzburg spice deli

On the last night before we left Vienna, an expat South African and I went out for dinner at the Vienna Naschmarkt. Lo and behold! A spice merchant with tonnes of paprika of every flavour and colour. To say I was beside myself was perhaps a bit of an understatement. I stocked up on both the sweet and smoked varieties.

Paprika - Smoked, Sweet, Hot

I left Austria a very happy camper and very much looking forward to try out some new recipes with my new spice find. Unintended but quite interestingly, my hand luggage smelled like smoked paprika for days after returning back to South Africa.

For inspiration, paprika can be used in a variety of dishes adding just the right amount of smoky flavour and colour. Try using paprika in some of these lamb, pork, chicken, fish, vegetable or sauce recipes:

Happy cooking.

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Roast pork belly with fennel

I have a confession to make. I love pork belly. There are few things in life that awakens the taste buds like a crunchy crackling serving of juicy pork belly. Let’s get into it…
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Ingredients
1.3kg pork belly roast
4 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tbsp maldon or himalyan salt
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves garlic
200ml white wine
squeeze lemon juice

Method
For extra crispy crackling I like to make sure the pork belly is washed and patted dry. Score the skin with a sharp kitchen knife in either a diamond pattern or thin horizontal lines. Put it in a glass tray, with another one on top, weighted down with two cans or any other heavy weight. This ensures a relatively even thickness of the pork belly. Keep it in the fridge over night.

Preheat the oven to 220C

Chop the rosemary leaves, pepper, lemon zest and salt. Rub the pork all over with the oil before rubbing the herb and salt mixture into the skin, pushing it in between the scored lines. Place the pork onto a rack in a roasting tin, skin-side up, and cook for 40 minutes or until the skin starts to puff and crisp at the edges.

In the meantime, remove the stalks of the fennel (keep the fronds). Slice the bulb into thin wedges. Flatten the garlic and remove the peel, leaving the cloves whole. Cut the carrots into quarters.

Remove the pork belly from the oven and turn the oven down to 160C. Lift the rack and add the fennel, garlic, carrots and wine to base of the roasting tin and coat with any of the pork fat drippings. Set the rack with pork back on top. Return the tray to the oven and roast for a a further hour at 160C.

Remove the fennel and carrots from the oven, squeeze over some of the lemon juice, set aside and keep warm.

Turn the oven back up to 200C. Cook the pork for another 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisped up to your liking.

Remove te pork belly, rest for 5-10 minutes and slice. Serve with fennel and carrots, sprinkling over the chopped reserved fennel fronds for garnish (optional).

You’ll love it so much, you’ll probably lick the plates clean while wishing you had bought a larger pork roast. So next time, get a 3kg roast and double the recipe. Trust me on this.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

Pulled pork sliders with sweet potato buns

pulled pork sliders Paleo

I have a soft spot for anything with pulled pork in the title. I’ve eaten some of the best pulled pork at the Pitt Cue Co in Soho London. While I managed to get their cookbook to try and recreate their sublime dish at home, it is quite a lengthy process as it involves a number of sauces and a smoking process that take the better part of the week to make. The taste is completely out of this world and definitely worth your while as the sauces make up the base for many of their other dishes.

But when a pulled pork craving hits and you’re fresh out of mother sauce, you’re going to have to improvise. Below is the result of that improvisation. Bite-sized pulled pork sliders that are Paleo / Banting (LCHF) friendly, by substituting the buns with sweet potatoes. The trick though is to try and get the biggest even shaped sweet potatoes that you can find as to best mimick a mini-burger. Mine ranged between small and medium, but actually worked out perfectly well as delicious bite-sized morsels.

The list of ingredients and the three processes may seem daunting, but it’s pretty easy to make and taste delicious.

Ingredients for the pulled pork

  • 1 smoked boston butt pork roast (1kg – go bigger if you can)
  • 2 large onions – quartered
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for the barbeque sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons tomato sauce

Ingredients for the sweet potato buns

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of maldon salt

To make the pulled pork

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160 C
  2. Stir together the spices and rub all over the roast.
  3. Lay the onion slices down on the bottom of the roasting pan together with the water and bay leaf.
  4. Put the roast on top of the onions, cover with lid or foil and cook for 2 hours.
  5. When done, take the roast out and shred the meat with two forks.
  6. Keep the pan juices and onions aside as we’ll combine those with the barbeque sauce

To make the barbeque sauce

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and garlic with some seasoning and the sugar, and fry for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add paprika and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes until onion is caramelising, then add vinegar and let it cook out for a few minutes.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce, mix well and continue to cook for about 8 minutes until sauce has reduced.
  5. Combine the barbeque sauce with your reserved pan juices and onions from the pork roast.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

At this point you can now combine the barbeque sauce with the pulled pork.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

Method for the sweet potato buns

  • Slice the sweet potato into 1/2 cm rounds. Lay them out on a roasting tray lined with baking paper.
  • Brush each slice with coconut oil and sprinkle with the spices, flip and repeat
  • Bake at 220 C for about 15 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes until brown on the outside and cooked through.

To assemble
Top a slice of sweet potato with some lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, a generous helping of the pulled pork and finish with another slice of sweet potato. You can of course add any other toppings of your choice, but these turned out finger-licking good.

pulled pork sliders Paleo