Monday, June 1, 2009

Costillas de Puerco En Salsa Con Pimienton Agridulce (Pork Ribs in Sauce with Bittersweet Paprika)

For my birthday I received some Spanish bittersweet smoked paprika (La Chinata Brand) in addition to sweet and hot paprika as well as some good quality saffron from La Tienda. I knew how to use sweet and hot smoked paprika but had no idea how to use the bittersweet paprika, nor did any of my fellow Spanish bloggers I asked knew.

So I came up with this recipe to test the flavor of the Spanish bittersweet paprika. It's very simple and straightforward and I wanted it to use the bittersweet paprika as the main spice dominating the dish so I could see what it tastes like. I simple browned some pork ribs with salt and very little pepper; made a sofrito (garlic, onion, bell pepper) with tomato and wine and seasoned with some of the Spanish bittersweet paprika. I then added some potatoes to make the dish more comforting and some cilantro or parsley for freshness.

The conclusion I've reached after testing it is that it tastes very much like the Spanish sweet smoked paprika, but it's less strong, more like a more mellow version of it, like a lighter taste. Hm mm... I'd have to call it a type of "mild sweet smoked paprika." It doesn't really dominate dishes too much or have a super strong taste but is very subtle. I think it is very well suited for fish and seafood because it wouldn't overpower fish the way sweet smoked might or it could be used in a dish that is highly spiced but you want to add a subtle taste that won't compete with the other spices. So
I believe it should be used when one wants to add subtle flavors to a dish.

If anyone knows any other uses for bittersweet paprika (Pimienton Agridulce) please tell me.


-2 1/2 lbs Pork Spareribs washed, cleaned, and cut into small pieces
-1 green or red bell pepper minced
-1 yellow onion minced
-1/2 head garlic peeled and mashed (like through a press or mortar)
-3 ripe tomatoes pureed in a blender or grated (or 1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce)
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-salt to taste (about 2 tsp.)
-black pepper (very little just enough to dust over meat)
-1 1/2 teaspoons Spanish bittersweet smoked paprika
-1/2 a bunch of fresh parsley or cilantro leaves chopped well (optional)


(1) Season pork with salt and black pepper and brown on medium high heat in olive oil for about 10-15 minutes on all sides stirring occasionally. Browning takes about 20 minutes, meanwhile chop and prep everything. When pork is browned, add onion, and bell peppers and sauteed stirring occasionally and cook down 5-7 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, then throw in white wine and raise heat. Let it bubble and reduce a bit, then add tomato and let it cook down another 5 minutes.

(3) Finally add some water to thin out the sauce and bittersweet paprika. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for about 30-40 minutes. Then add potatoes and cook for an additional 15- 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Turn off heat and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

(4) Serve with rice or crusty bread and a salad if desired.

*You can substitute the bittersweet paprika in this dish with sweet smoked spanish paprika and it would still be super delicious maybe even better (I prefer the stronger sweet paprika for pork) and if you like spicy you can add some hot smoked paprika :)