07 August, 2016

DMD Kitchen: Paella

Chicken and shrimp paella.
I have been thinking about making paella for several months now. I’ve eaten the dish before at Columbia Restaurant last year, it was a complicated seafood affair that required a 45 minute wait (just imagine how many pitchers of sangria one can consume waiting for the paella to arrive). I think it was the saffron rice and the flat pan that attracted me the most. I finally acquired the pan about a month ago, however finding the Calasparra rice - the main ingredient in a paella - was a whole different story (Amazon to the rescue as usual). Let's just say I now have enough rice to keep me in paellas for years.

Spanish Paella

½ t Saffron
4C Chicken Stock
1.5lb Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs (about 3 pieces)* cut into 1 inch chunks
2 Links Spicy Sausage, cut into pieces
1lb or so Shrimp, peeled and deveined**
½ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Large Green Pepper, chopped
2 Large Tomatoes, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Your favorite seasoning (without salt)
Salt to taste
1 Whole Bay Leaf
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, stems removed
2C Spanish Calasparra Rice
1/2C Cooked Green Peas
Lemon

*Boneless pork loin can be used instead of chicken
**Fresh shrimp is the preference of course, but sometimes (for those of us who live in a landlocked areas) it might be extremely expensive, so a really good frozen raw shrimp is OK. Just follow the package instructions for thawing it out.

This dish requires a 17 inch paella pan. Look for the authentic Valencia pan (they’re made out of steel, nothing fancy, with red handles). I got mine at Williams-Sonoma. High-output burner is also crucial, as you need to evenly heat the entire pan. 
Paella recipe.

In a small saucepan, heat chicken stock with saffron threads. Stir once in a while to evenly distribute the color. Cover and set aside. Prepare your mise en place. Season your cut chicken.
Heat olive oil in the pan and sauté onion, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes until onion starts to become transparent. Add chicken, sausage, and rosemary sprigs, cook until meat lightly browned. Add saffron chicken stock, salt to taste, and bay leaf. Carefully add the rice to make sure it is evenly distributed throughout the pan. Stir well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes. Do not stir at this point. Watch the pan, if the liquid is starting to disappear add some water. Add peas. Add shrimp and stir, making sure shrimp is tucked inside the rice. Cook for another 5 minutes, the shrimp should turn pink within that time (give it a stir or two to make sure all the shrimp is cooking evenly). Turn off the heat, cover tightly with foil, and let the paella stand for about 10 minutes so the rice can absorb all the liquid. Squeeze some lemon juice over the entire pan, serve immediately.
If you’re making it for guests, bring the entire pan to the table and plate tableside.

Bon Appetit!

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