Spain, the home of the matador, conquistadors of a long distant past, fine wine, stunning scenery and great night life. Home to Christopher Columbus ( though born in northwestern Italy) and also original home of paella, a marvelously appetizing dish with flavors that explode in your mouth! A great dish for showing off your culinary skills to friends.
I first discovered this dish while vacationing in that country one summer eons ago. To this day that first experience, that initial explosion of flavors, remains embedded in my memory. This is my take on it: play with the flavors until you, too, find the taste that will be everlasting. Wow your friends and create an ah tan delicioso (oh so yummy) meal.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 whole chicken or 8 chicken drumsticks. (If you use a whole chicken, use a meat cleaver to cut the chicken into pieces small enough to be easily stirred while sautéing).
- 1 1/2 pounds pork loin (fat trimmed), cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound calamari (squid) cleaned and sliced into rings
- 1 pound cooked (thawed) large shrimp
- 1 pound medium grain or “pearl” rice. (The exact quantity of rice will depend on the size of the pan so have at least one pound of rice on hand.)
- 4 to 6 cups chicken broth 1 large pinch saffron
- 1 1/2 pounds raw mussels in shell (frozen or fresh)
- 1 pound small clams (frozen or fresh)
- 1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp
- 1 red pepper seeded and sliced
- 10 ounce packet frozen peas
- Olive oil, salt to taste
With a sharp knife, cut the pork into ¾-inch piec es. Clean the squid and remove the tentacles. Make sure to remove the innards and the “spine” and discard. Then cut the squid into rings. (Try to buy fresh squid whenever possible. If it is not available, look for packages of squid already cut into “rings”. It will probably be in the frozen food section of your supermarket. The squid should NOT have batter or coating on them, since that type is used for frying).
Slice the red pepper and chop the onions and set aside. Now that the ingredients are cleaned and chopped, it’s time to start the BBQ and begin cooking.
Assemble all the ingredients on a table near the BBQ so you can stay in the area and monitor the cooking. Place the paella pan on the grate and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom; allow the pan to heat up. When it is hot, sauté the onions and tomatoes in the olive oil. Add olive oil as needed to prevent sticking. Once the onions are translucent, add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly – about 15 minutes. Add pork and squid and cook, stirring often.
Add the rice in the form of a cross. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly coat the rice with oil and mix with the other ingredients, then add the saffron to the chicken broth and stir. Slowly pour broth into the pan until pan contents are covered. Spread ingredients evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Arrange mussels around outside edge of pan. Place clams, distributing them evenly inside pan. Add slices of pepper on top. Allow to simmer, cooking the rice. Add more broth if necessary. When rice is almost cooked, sprinkle peas over the pan and place the cooked king shrimp around the edges.
When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and cover with aluminum foil, allowing paella to “rest” for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Once the paella has rested remove the foil and step back and admire the beautiful dish in front of you! I guarantee your friends will come back for second helpings and the plates will be empty.
Serve paella with lemon wedges, good wine and most of all always remember have fun while you prepare your dishes. Enjoy!
Originally posted by Ian Leatt on http://lifestyles55.ca