Paella


Ah yes, the ever impressive Spanish Paella. Many fear attempting this dish for it brings on a bit of anxiety. Once the broth is added, one must pray to the Paella Gods that enough broth is in the pan to cook the rice. It's a nerve wracking moment. I still get anxious every time. This version of Paella will hopefully become one of your go to recipes. The goal is to one day have the comfort to make it your own adding veggies you like and your own selection of protein.

Ingredients:

4-6 cups broth (seafood, beef or chicken....depends on what proteins you use)

1 lemon

2 jars or cans of artichokes, artichokes cut in half

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon salt

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 links of precooked spanish chorizo

250 grams of squid (I like heads/body and tentacles), cleaned and heads/body cut into rings

1 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, preferably yellow but a whit onion will do

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded then chopped up.

2.5 cups risotto rice (like Arborrio) or Bomba rice

1 cup pease or cut green beans (whichever you have). Can be frozen but please thaw completely.

200 grams monkfish, cod, rockfish or hake

12+ mussels (I usually calculate 2-3 mussels per guest)

12+ Shrimp (cleaned and peeled)

12+ clams (optional)

1 cup parsley, chopped

Directions:

1. Bring your stock to a simmer. For this recipe I chose a seafood broth but a chicken broth would work well.

2. Prepare all your ingredients. Place each one in a bowl or plate. This step is important. Once the oil is heating in your paella pan, each ingredient needs to be added fairly quickly and in a specific order. So, drain your artichokes and cut them in half, set them aside. Peel your garlic cloves and crush them, set them aside. Cut your onions into rings and yes, set them aside. Cut the red bell pepper into strips and you got it, set them aside. Tomatoes should be peeled, seeded and finely chopped. The rice needs to be rinsed and ready to go in a bowl. Thaw your peas or green beans. I like to cut my green beans in half.

The monkfish or whichever fish you buy should be cut into 2 inch chunks and your squid should be cleaned and the bodies cut into rings. The chorizo should be cut into cubes or if you want them to have more of a visual presence, cut them into discs. Clams and mussels should be scrubbed and thoroughly cleaned. And finally, chop your parsley and cut your lemon.

3. So the first step is to make the saffron paste. Take the garlic, saffron and a teaspoon of salt and place them all in a mortar. With the pestle smash the ingredients until a lovely reddish orange paste forms. Scrape the paste into a small bowl or ramekin.

4. This recipe works best if you have a paella pan, I use a 16 inch pan. However, you can make this in a very large heavy bottom frying pan, but I would recommend you make half of the recipe. It just won't fit if not. Heat your pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the chorizo and squid (if you want to add another protein like chicken or sausages, add them now). Cook for 5 minutes or until golden (more so for chicken and sausages). Then remove proteins and place in a clean bowl. Set aside.

5. Add the artichokes, onions and red bell pepper to the pan. Sauté until soft and onion is translucent. Return the proteins (chorizo and squid) to the pan and add the tomatoes with two cups of broth. Stir everything and cook for a few minutes.

6. Add the saffron paste and stir so that the paste dissolves into the broth evenly in the paella pan. Then add the rice and veggies. Stir again and try to get the rice evenly distributed in the pan.

7. Add enough stock to barely cover the rice. I use a small pitcher and strategically pour the broth wherever I see rice grains sticking out. ALL the rice should be submerged in broth. DO NOT STIR. Resist the temptation to stir. Your burner should be at medium heat. This is when the anxiety kicks in.

8. Place your monkfish, clams, mussels and shrimp and push them down a bit so they are nestled into the rice mixture.

9. Add a little broth to the areas that are starting to look a tad dry. Then wait until you can no longer see puddles of broth bubbling away but rather see bubbles popping through the rice randomly in spots. Taste a tiny bit of rice to see if it is tender and al dente. Discard any mussels or clams that did not open.

10. Turn heat off and let the paella sit for a bit covered with foil. About 10-15 minutes. Add the parsley and give it a squirt of lemon for vibrance.

Enjoy!

#seafood #paella #rice #dinner #Spanish #chorizo #chicken #fish #veggies

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