May 14, 2010


Between end-of-the-school-year grading and dealing with other people's bullshit (I've finally decided that I'm too old for all this drama & am now ignoring those people), I haven't had time to cook. But, I'm trying to remedy that. So, a couple Sundays ago I invited my friend Stephanie (aka Iron Stef) & fellow food blog mafiosa over to get busy in the kitchen.

We decided to try paella, which neither one of us had made before. Initially, I thought this would be a difficult--but welcomed--chore, but it turns out that paella is fairly just involves several steps. I also thought that it would be expensive to make, with all that seafood (mussels and clams and shrimp). However, it was a lot less spendy than I thought...the shrimp were $9.95 a pound, while the mussels and clams were each only about $5 a dozen. (St. Louis folks: I bought all the seafood at Bob's Seafood at 170 & Olive).

Overall, I thought the paella turned out pretty well. However, while the bottom did brown, it didn't get as crispy as I'd liked.  Also, we had to keep adding more stock to the rice in order to help the shellfish steam open. Had I read the recipe a little more carefully, I would have noticed that we were supposed to COVER the dish to help it steam. Without the extra liquid that we added, I bet the bottom would have crisped up better.

I do plan to make paella again. Though, I am going to Kitchen Conservatory's class on July 21 to learn how to cook paella on the grill first.

adapted from Food & Wine

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
6 ounces Spanish chorizo, finely diced
5 cups chicken stock
Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
2 cups Spanish rice *(see note below)
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed to room temperature
12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound jumbo shrimp in their shells, butterflied and deveined

* We used La Preferida brand "Fancy Pearl Rice" (Arroz Tipo Valenciano), a Spanish rice that is typically used for paella. I was able to find this at Schnucks, our local supermarket chain. If you can't find Spanish rice, use arborio (aka risotto) rice instead.
  • In a paella pan or very large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Saute the chicken, seasoned with salt, pepper, & paprika over medium heat until cooked through & slightly browned. Remove from the pan & set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the onion & garlic cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diced chorizo to the skillet & cook, stirring, until sizzling, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add the rice & cook until toasted, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock & crumbled saffron and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately low heat until the rice is nearly tender, about 18 minutes. 
  • Nestle the shrimp, clams, then mussels into the rice, cover and cook until the shrimp is pink & the shellfish are open, about 8 minutes. 
  • Add the cooked chicken & peas to the top of the rice. 
  • Cover the paella & let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

No comments: