I wrote a post in late 2012 after I started my blog, called “My New Favorite Ingredient.” I had about 4 followers then, and so I would like to re-introduce this ingredient on my blog.
The ingredient, or product, was given to me by my friend who has Hungarian parents. The product? Paprika Cream, sometimes also spelled creme.
There are a few different versions of it, all made by Univer in Hungary, but they’re very much the same product – a paste or “cream” made from Hungarian red bell peppers. There is one called Goulash Creme, Sweet Paprika Mix, and Hot Paprika Mix.
The cream also comes in tube form.
So today I wanted to make risotto, and I thought that the perfect way to season it would be to add some of this lovely paprika cream. And, the color is pretty spectacular, as well. You can use this cream for just about any culinary purpose for instant flavor; I’ve also used it simply as a coating for pork tenderloin. It was fabulous.
Anyway, if you’ve never made a risotto before – trust me – they’re very easy to make. I’ve even taught young girls how to make a risotto. Which is why it infuriates me on these cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen when the trained chefs mess up risottos. It’s not hard, people!!!
I’m not going to give you an exact risotto recipe, because to make a risotto is about so much more than following a recipe. You really have to feel the recipe, and let your brain be your guide. A risotto is a lot about common sense.
There’s a little elbow grease involved with risotto, as it requires a lot of stirring. But that’s not hard at all. The only rule is to not leave the kitchen while you’re making it. A risotto is a very hands-on dish.
Paprika Cream Risotto
This recipe makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 cup arborio or carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, approximately
3 tablespoons paprika cream, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated Parmesan, optional
Grilled chicken, optional
Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. There are pots made specifically for making risotto, but these aren’t necessary. A good saucepan and a wooden spoon will do.
When the butter melts, add the shallots and sauté them for a couple of minutes.
Then pour in the rice. Stir the rice all around, so that every bit of rice gets coated in butter. Stir the rice for about half a minute.
Then pour in the wine. Immediately begin stirring the rice as it absorbs the wine. You will notice the wine disappearing before your eyes as you stir. You must keep stirring to prevent the rice from sticking.
Once the wine is absorbed, begin adding the chicken broth, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time. Stir the rice after each addition.
Every time the rice absorbs the liquid, you will have to make sure that you don’t wait too long before you add more liquid. Add liquid, stir. Repeat.
Once you can tell that the rice has essentially stopped absorbing, add the paprika cream and the salt. If you’re not sure you’ll like the paprika flavor, add less and taste. But I’m sure you’ll love it.
Once you’ve stirred in the paprika cream, you have a couple of options. Sometimes, people add cream and/or Parmesan cheese to risottos. Both of these additions are fabulous. However, today I just want the rice to show off, simply flavored with broth, shallots, and paprika.
Immediately put the hot risotto in a serving bowl.
But then, I added some left over grilled chicken, and I placed a bowl of Parmesan nearby. This was actually my lunch, and I got really hungry taking these photos. So I decided to go for it and I added a generous amount of Parmesan to the risotto!
The Parmesan was perfect with the chicken and paprika-flavored rice.
If you ever happen upon some version of this Univer product, make sure and grab some. You’ll find all kinds of uses for it, trust me!