Mesquite Smoked Paprika Chicken

Is it any wonder that Spanish cooks love to use paprika? I am becoming addicted to its smoky flavour.

For supper this evening I picked up a small whole chicken, about $8.00 or $9.00 worth and cut out the backbone and laid it open and flat. I then rubbed about 4 tablespoons of hot smoked paprika into the chicken, added a bit of olive oil and put it into a plastic bag for 4 or 5 hours.

I soaked some large mesquite wood chips in water for a couple of house and when I was ready to go I lit the gas barbecue. When it was hot I threw on the wood chips. Then laid the chicken skin side up on one side of the grill, turned off the heat below it and let it cook for an hour or so.

It was a windy day so it was hard to keep the heat up so, after an hour or so I turned the oven up to 450 degrees and put the chicken in a roasting pan with about 3/4 of an inch of water in the bottom and popped it in.

When the chicken was done, I took the pan juices, added a bit of chicken stock and thickened it into a gravy.

I served the chicken with Caribbean style rice and peas, yellow beans an of course, the gravy.

It had a pungent smoky, slightly hot flavour and the mesquite really complemented the smokiness of the paprika. I don't like to boast but, it was delicious.

If you don't like things hot, use a sweet paprika instead. Be sure to buy the Spanish stuff too. My favorite come in a distinctive red can, La Chinata. They have hot, sweet and bitter.

If all you have is Hungarian paprika, either go out and get some of the good stuff or wait until you have it on hand. It is simply not an adequate substitution.

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