After that, I wanted to make my own version of Paella and figure out what ingredients were in a traditional recipe. I found some saffron at a local ethnic market which is something I had never used. Once I realized that the flavor of this magnificent rice comes from saffron, I was ready to give paella a try. It came out awesome and I made so much that I ended up making paella soup out of the leftovers. Even though the list of ingredients looks long, don't be intimidated. If you have your ingredients laid out and ready to go, its quite fun to prepare.
Paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain.. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.
There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella (Spanish: paella valenciana), seafood paella (Spanish: paella de marisco) and mixed paella (Spanish: paella mixta), but there are many others as well. Valencian paella consists of white rice,green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck, land snails), beans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces land animals with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of land animals, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes beans. Most paella chefs use calasparra or bomba rices for this dish. Other key ingredients includesaffron and olive oil.
- Few Tbls Duck Fat, Butter, Coconut Oil, or Olive Oil
- 1 Lb Chorizo Sausage, Cut Into Large Pieces
- 1 Large Onion
- 1 Red Pepper
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
- 4 Cups Rice. Spanish Short Grain
- 7-8 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup White Wine
- 1-2 Lbs Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks
- 1 LB Shrimp
- 1 Lb Clams/Mussels or Both
- 1 Cup Sweet Peas. Frozen
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Tbl Paprika
- 2 t Oregano
- Lemon Wedges
- Saffron Threads
- Bunch Of Fresh Parsley, Chopped. Reserve some for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350. Rub the paprika, oregano and a generous amount to salt and pepper on the chicken. Bake for 1 hour while the Paella is cooking.
Prepare other ingredients by chopping the chorizo, dicing the onion & pepper, cleaning the shrimp and other seafood so its ready to go.
Heat oil in a very large skillet or Paella pan. Add chorizo and cook for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove from pan. In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Add wine and cook for a minute. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid.
Add the chorizo back along with a generous pinch of saffron threads. Stuff the seafood pieces into the rice. If using clams, they will take longer than mussels. Once the shells open, they are done.
Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes.
When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect.
Cook's note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken pieces to the top. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.