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Paprika bland? Not if you're as bold as the Hungarians.

If you overlook paprika because you consider it a bland seasoning, think again. Used with a bold hand, it's more than a dusting of color to dress up plain foods.

Hungarian cuisine is rich with the color, flavor, and aroma of this distinctive seasoning. Hungarians have also made a specialty of producing paprika; they've been exporting this powder of dried, ripe red peppers of the capsicum family for at least four centuries.

Native to the Americas, the peppers came to western Europe with the Spanish and Portuguese, who later took them to India. From there, Ottoman Turks took the peppers through Persia to eastern Europe, including present-day Hungary.

Today, you'll find Old World and New World versions of the spice on supermarket shelves. Taste varies with the type of pepper used. All paprika peppers are fully ripened to develop intense flavors and color before they are dried and ground.

The peppers that are used to make Hungarian paprika look much like small red bell peppers. From them are derived sweet (also called mild) and mildly hot varieties of the spice. Westerners will find hot paprika gentle compared with many of the chilies we use regularly.

Domestic producers-mostly in California and New Mexico-make paprika from long, slender hybrids of the Anaheim chili. These peppers lack the heat of the regular Anaheim, and yield paprika comparable to Hungarian sweet.

These Hungarian-styie cool-weather dishes make good use of paprika. Try the sweet cooked onions, made orange-red by paprika, atop open-faced sandwiches. But also consider them as a warm relish for any cooked meat, poultry, or fish. Pork baby back ribs bake moist and tender on a bed of sauerkraut and fresh cabbage; paprika seasons the vegetables and the light, crisp crust of crumbs on the meat. Goulash soup is based on brisket; mushrooms and barley form the foundation of the other soup.

Sweet Paprika Onions

For delicious open-faced sandwiches, top slices of toasted bread (buttered or spread with sour cream) with cooked pork tenderloin, chicken breast, or cheese such as cream cheese, feta, gruyere, or jack. Then mound warm onion on top.

2 tablespoons each salad oil and butter or margarine

2 pounds onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons hot or sweet Hungarian paprika, or regular (domestic) paprika

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, add oil, butter, and onion. Stir occasionally until onion turns a deep gold, well tinged with brown, about 11/2 hours. Remove from heat and stir in paprika. Use hot, or cover and chill up to 3 days; stir over medium heat to warm before using. Makes about 1 cup.

Per tablespoon: 50 cal; 0.8 g protein; 3.4 g fat; 4.6 g carbo.; 16 mg sodium; 3.9 mg chol.

Baby Back Ribs Baked with Sauerkraut

1 large can (27 oz.) sauerkraut, drained

4 cups shredded red cabbage

About 3 tablespoons hot or sweet Hungarian paprika, or regular (domestic) paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes

3 pounds pork baby back ribs

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Pour sauerkraut into a colander and rinse with cool running water; let drain. In a roasting pan about 10 by 14 inches, mix together sauerkraut, cabbage, 1 tablespoon paprika, garlic, and tomatoes; spread in an even layer. Lay ribs on sauerkraut mixture, curved side up; sprinkle meat evenly with pepper and about 2 teaspoons paprika. Tightly cover pan with foil. Bake in 375[deg] oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Mix together 2 teaspoons paprika and bread crumbs. Remove foil, turn ribs over, and sprinkle with paprika mixture.

Bake, uncovered, until meat is very tender when pierced and crumbs are brown, about 20 minutes longer.

Transfer baby back ribs to a platter and spoon sauerkraut mixture into a bowl. Cut ribs apart and serve with sauerkraut. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 720 cal.; 41 g protein; 51 g fat; 25 g carbo.; 922 mg sodium; 165 mg chol.

Goulash Soup

2 pounds fresh beef brisket, cut into 1 -inch pieces

2 tablespoons each salad oil and butter or margarine

3 large (about 2 1/2 lb. total) onions, thinly sliced

1 cup each dry white wine and water cup sweet Hungarian paprika, or regular (domestic) paprika

2 medium-size green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and diced

4 cups (2 cans, 14 1/2-oz. size) regular-strength beef broth

1 medium-size russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Unflavored nonfat yogurt

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, brown meat, about 1/2 at a time, in I tablespoon each salad oil and butter. Set meat aside.

To pan, add remaining oil, butter, and onions. Stir often until onions are dark gold in color and very soft, about 40 minutes. Stir in meat, wine, water, paprika, bell pepper, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover and simmer until meat is tender to bite, about 2 hours.

Add potato and continue to simmer until the potato is tender to bite, about 30 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls; add yogurt to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 428 cal.; 35 g protein; 21 g fat; 25g carbo.; 172 mg sodium; 104 mg chol.

Mushroom, Barley, and Parsley Chowder

2 pounds mushrooms

About 1/3 cup olive or salad oil

1 large (about 10 oz.) onion, chopped

1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika or regular (domestic) paprika

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) pear-shaped tomatoes

2 quarts regular-strength chicken or beef broth

2 cups water

1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 cups minced parsley

Salt and pepper

Rinse mushrooms and trim off discolored stem ends. Thinly slice mushrooms.

In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high beat, combine mushrooms and 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir often until mushroom juices evaporate, about 15 minutes. Add onion and stir often until onion is limp, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika, tomatoes and juices, beef broth, water, barley, and red wine vinegar.

Over high heat, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until barley is very tender to bite, about 30 minutes. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up until next day. Reheat to continue.)

Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat, stir 1 tablespoon olive oil with parsley until parsley turns brighter green and crisp, about 2 minutes. Spoon onto paper towels to drain; if made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up until next day.

When barley is tender, add 3/4 of the sauteed parsley to soup. Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with remaining parsley; salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8 to 10.

Per serving: 211 cal; 7.1 protein; 9.5 g fat; 7 g carbo.; 121 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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