Paprika is a popular spice in Languedoc Roussillon cuisine and it's thought that Christopher Columbus introduced it to Europe having found it as a domesticated plant among the Native American people (the explorers named it ’Indian pepper’). Due to its outstanding adaptability, this tropical plant got acclimatized to the very different climate and conditions. From Spain it was introduced to Southern France and England, and it soon became Europe’s favourite decorative house plant.
The use of paprika as a spice was spread by the Turks who brought the ground dried fruits of these bell peppers to the Balkan Peninsula first, and later to Hungary. In Hungary it was also used for decoration, first. In 1570, it was mentioned in Margit Széchy’s garden as ’red Turkish pepper’, and in 1579, the French botanist, Clusius introduced it into the garden of Count Boldizsár Batthyányi.
Clusius is famed for the development of new garden cultures and cultivated plants, such as the tulip, potato, and chestnut, from other parts of the world. He was the director of the Holy Roman Emperor’s garden in Vienna (1573–87) and spent the later years of his life teaching in Leiden, where his cultivation of tulips in the botanic garden was the beginning of the Dutch tulip bulb industry.
I have found a recipe which uses the vins doux naturel Maury with paprika that is a great twist on the old favourite of pork in cream sauce. As Maury is hard to source outside France you could use a splash of Madeira instead.
Fillet of Pork with Paprika and Maury Cream Sauce
slices of streaky bacon
30 cl double cream
3 tbsp Maury
Cut the tenderloin into small sections of 2-3 cm. Using toothpicks attach the slices of bacon around the pieces of meat. Sprinkle with paprika and place in a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 ° C. Turn over halfway through cooking.
To prepare the sauce mix the cream with the Maury in a pan and cook for 25 mins on low heat. Add to the pork in the baking try and mix with the juices at the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil and cook another 10 mins (max), basting the pork occasionally. Serve with rice.