Sunday, April 25, 2010

Paella Anyone???

I recently was introduced to the wonderful dish of Paella.  I had heard of the succulent, aromatic dish before until recently had never partook of it.  The taste of a beautifully cooked Paella is heavenly!!  Now a lot of you maybe wondering, "What really is Paella?"  Here's the Wikipedia definition of Paella

Paella (Spanish pronunciation: [paˈeʎa]) 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.[1] 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), snails, beans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans.  Most paella chefs use calasparra[2][3] or bomba[3] rices for this dish. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.
To sum it up, its REALLY yummy!!
While perusing the cookbook shelf at the library this week I happened to stumble across a cookbook from a local restaurant here in Grand Rapids called San Chez.  I have had the privilege of eating at this restaurant a few times and every time the food was amazing.  Anyways back to the cook book - they had a recipe in there for Spanish Rice - Paella.  So I decided I was going to try and make it myself.  

The first step in making Paella is to have a Paella pan.  I picked up a brand new Paella pan straight from Spain from World Market where they retail for $14.99.  The pan does require a bit of upkeep as it can rust if not properly taken care of.  

Here is the recipe for Paella - this recipe calls for Arborio rice rather than the traditional Bomba rice - its what our grocery store had so that's what I used.  Next time I think I might try to find the Bomba rice.  I also doubled the recipe and it turned out beautifully.  A note of warning if you have never bought Saffron before prepared to be shocked at how much it will cost!!!

Scroll down to the bottom of the recipe to find a picture of my first ever homemade Paella.

5 oz. Arborio Rice
1/2 tsp. Saffron Threads
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Spicy Smoked Paprika
1/8 tsp. White Pepper
16 oz. Stock (you can use any stock to match your Paella: vegetable, seafood, chicken, etc.) I used chicken
3 oz. Spanish Onion, diced
1 oz. Green Onion, chopped
3 oz. Roma Tomato, diced
3 oz. Canned Pimiento
3 oz. Peas
1 tsp. Fresh Garlic, peeled & chopped
2 tsp. Parsley, chopped.
8 - 10 oz Meat, poulty, shellfish, vegetables, any combination of these that are to your taste (I used shrimp and chicken)
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 Lemon
This will Yield:  1 paella in a 12 inch round steel pan which serves 2 - 4 people.

1.  Heat the stock so that is is hot, but not boiling, and reserve keeping it warm
2.  Heat the olive oil in the paella pan on medium to high temperature.
3.  Add the onions, tomatoes, peas and pimientos and saute until the vegetables are tender (I also added about 3/4 of a red pepper)
4.  Add the garlic, parsley, and the spices; mix evenly into the vegetables.
5.  Add in the main ingredients, your choice of meat, poultry, shellfish, and/or vegetables.  Cook lightly.
6.  Add the rice and incorporate it evenly into the mixture.
7.  Add the reserved stock, 8 oz at a time, mixing it well with the rice and other ingredients.  Add salt to taste.
8.  Bring the stock to a boil, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally.
9.  When the rice is no longer soupy but sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice (about 5 minutes) transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  The rice should be aldente.
10.  Remove to a warm spot, cover with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking.
11.  To serve:  Juice the quarter lemon over the paella and mix it up with a pair of serving spoons.

And's my Paella....



Louise Dekker said...

Hi Kristin, Your paella looks and sounds yummy! While it is not the perfect substitute, you can use turmeric in place of saffron. Gives the rice the golden colour, and will help with the budget

Kristin said...

thanks Louise! I think I may try that next time when I run out of saffron, I have enough to last a few more batches!

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