Wednesday, September 06, 2006
We got a paella pan as a wedding gift last year, and I finally got around to using it this weekend. I've had paella in Spain, and on several other occasions in restaurants and made by people who specialize in it, so I knew what I was looking for in terms of flavor and texture. Did a survey of assorted paella recipes, and decided I (sort of) liked the recipe on spanishtable.com best. What's good about that one is that it gives measurements for each serving, so you can customize it to what you need. I did it for four, and it filled my 15" paella pan all the way to the brim. So I might make three portions next time. I substituted a blend of fish and shrimp stock for the chicken stock, and used calamari, clams, and shrimp for the seafood. Also changed around some of the seasonings etc. You don't have to use a paella pan, of course -- a big saute pan will work just fine but isn't as aesthetic. So here is my version: Per person: 1 chicken thigh, skinned and boned, cut into bite-size pieces 3 medium shrimp, shelled (tail on) and deveined 4 small clams (manila) 1 calamari tube, cleaned and sliced into rings 5 saffron threads 1/2 C valencia rice (or other short to medium grained rice) (Do not rinse!) 1 C chicken or seafood broth 1/4 C peeled, seeded, and chopped tomato 1/2 t smoked sweet paprika 1 soft Spanish chorizo, 1/3" slices 1/4 C chopped onion 1 garlic clove, minced 1/8 C frozen peas Optional: green beans (1" pieces), canned artichoke hearts, halved Per pan: 1/2 C dry white wine 2 T olive oil Heat wine and put saffron in it to steep. Heat oil in pan over medium high heat and saute chicken until browned. Add onion and garlic, stir until translucent. Add sausage and stir for about five minutes. Add rice and stir until the rice is beginning to turn milky. Add tomatoes and paprika, stir, then add broth, wine/saffron mixture, and peas as well as optional vegetables. Stir just to distribute ingredients evenly, and bring to a low boil. Don't stir any more -- a crust is supposed to form on the bottom. Simmer for five minutes, then distribute clams evenly around the pan. simmer for another five minutes, turn the clams over, and distribute the calamari and shrimp evenly over the top. After another five minutes, turn the shrimp over. Let simmer about another five minutes, and discard any clams that have not opened. Serve immediately. A green salad with a caper viniagrette is a nice side dish.