Paella

Paella is a classic Spanish dish that can feed an army and is perfect for a dinner party! One key ingredient is saffron which gives the paella a beautiful yellow color and its distinctive flavor. More traditional recipes include a can of diced tomatoes and a bag of frozen peas thawed. I chose not to add them, but feel free to do so. Also, you can choose what type of meat or seafood you want to include or exclude. I have based the meat and seafood amounts on serving 4 people. The tomatoes are generally added in the beginning and the peas at the end. If you don’t have a paella pan use a very large skillet. See Chatty Advice below regarding the clams and mussels.

Ingredients

¼ cup of olive oil
½ lb. of boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 4 small pieces try to remove any visible fat
½ lb. of chorizo sausage rolled into 8 golf ball sized meatballs
½ cup of a yellow onion diced
2 large cloves of garlic crushed through a garlic press
1 ½ cups of rice, not minute
1 cup of white wine
2 cups of chicken broth
1 teaspoon of saffron threads
½ lb. of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. of mussels cleaned
1 lb. of clams cleaned
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley – chiffonade
1-2 lemons cut into wedges

Technique

In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of warm water and steep saffron as you would tea. In 15 inch paella pan or large deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Sear chicken until browned on both sides. Remove and place on a platter with a paper towel. Add chorizo to skillet and brown. Remove and place on the same platter with a paper towel to blot any grease. (Alternately you can bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until done. Time it so that they will come out at the same time as you are serving your paella.  The reason for doing so is to maintain the color that the saffron adds to the rice.) Add onions and sauté until tender. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add rice and sauté until rice begins to brown slightly. Add wine to deglaze pan somewhat. Add chicken broth, saffron and liquid and submerge chicken and chorizo (if not baking it in the oven) to cook. Reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Do not stir. Some of the chorizo will fall apart in the cooking process and that is just fine, it will taste great. (This will not happen if you bake them and add them when serving.) Add seafood, submerge and cover with a cookie sheet if using a paella pan. Cook for about 5 minutes. Shrimp should be a bright pink color and mussels and clams should be open. If any do not open, discard them. Also chicken and chorizo should be cooked thoroughly. If they are still raw in the center remove from pan and place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven until done. Let paella rest for about 10 minutes and garnish with parsley, add lemon wedges for drizzling.

Suggested Beverage

Try our Citrus Sangria or Salneval Albariño Rίas Baixas Cosecha White Wine Valle Del Salnes (Spain), Hahn Estates Chardonnay (California),  Parducci Family Farmed Pinot Noir (California) or Bogle Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley).

Chatty Advice

Mussel and clams must be kept alive until they are cooked. So do not suffocate them in a plastic bag or drown them by soaking them in water. As soon as coming home from the grocery store, empty the bag of mussels and clams into your sink. Thoroughly but quickly rinse all of them. Place into a strainer filled with ice, place the mussels and clams on top of the ice and place the strainer in a large deep container that the ice can melt into. Do not cover. Refrigerate until ready to cook them. When rinsing the mussels and clams, any with cracked shells should be discarded. If you find any that will not close when handled or given a light tap, discard them as well, because they are dead. They will open to breath but once touched, tapped or are moved around they should close. If in doubt smell them. They will probably have a bad odor if they are dead. When mussels and clams are cooked they should open. If some mussels or clams did not open after cooking them, discard them. However, if half did not open they may not have been cooked long enough. Some mussels and clams will only partially open, if in doubt, discard them.

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