Paella almost ready
Going, going gone!
I have taken the longest blogging break it feels like. As mentioned in my last post, I barely cooked much last year owing to my pregnancy. But now that I am back, seems like am on a wild cooking spree!
I recently met a friend for some tasty dimsum. And post dimsum what do I see next door...a Ranch 99! Being right there, I had to go in and get me some clams n shrimp without a real plan for the clams (isn't that always the case!).
Last week I decided to put those clams to good use with some seafood Paella. Paella is a great dish to make for a number of reasons. Firstly how can you go wrong with shrimp, clams, sausage, chicken and wine :D Moreover, its a complete 1 pan dish, which makes cleanup a snap! I used Tyler Florence's Ultimate Paella Recipe, but modified it based on my friend M's super useful tips n tricks and used ingredients that are easier to find :).
Seafood Paella Recipe
1. 3-pound chicken breast, cut into pieces
2. Smoked Andouille sausages, sliced thick. The original recipe calls for Chorizo sausages sliced thin. I did not find chorizo sausages at Trader Joe's, so picked up the andouille sausage instead and it tasted great! Also, I like my sausage pieces to be chunky vs thinly sliced.
3. 1 dozen littleneck clams, cleaned
4. 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
5. 1 cup red and green bell pepper, diced
6. 1 onion, diced
7. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
8. Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
9. 1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed. You could also just boil 5-6 tomatoes, peel and dice them finely.
10. 4 cups short grain Spanish rice. I got mine from Whole Foods in the specialty foods aisle.
11. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12. Salt and freshly ground pepper
13. 6 cups chicken stock. You could also just use warm water instead
14. 2 tsp oregano
15. 1 cup white wine (optional)
16. Generous pinch saffron threads
17. 2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
18. Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet. I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond for $19.99 and it worked perfectly. Will surely be using it for a long time to come!
1. Rub smoked paprika, salt, pepper, oregano and oil mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
2. Do the same thing (Rub smoked paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and oil mix) all over the shrimp and marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.
3. Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the sausage until browned, remove and keep aside. Add chicken, and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and keep aside. Add the shrimp, and remove when it changes color to a pinkish shade or even slightly browned. Remove from pan. Lastly sautee the bell pepper for 2 minutes and remove.
4. 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.
5. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid.
6. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook.
7. Add some white wine (optional) for flavor
8. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes.
9. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the red pepper flakes and saffron strands. I add the pepper flakes to add some zing to my paella.
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.
Tyler's note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.
And really that's it! Enjoy :)