Saturday, January 20, 2007

Paella, the Male Martha Way

I have to admit, my decision to try to make paella was spontaneous, and I really didn't have a recipe as a guide. I went to Wikipedia, which gave me a very Valencian view of the whole subject. I also Googled the words Paella Recipe and looked at some of them, although I focused mostly on this one. I then decided to do my own thing, using all of this as a guide. This seems to be the general sense of paella anyway: a mix of rice and stuff that would taste good in rice. Oh yeah, and saffron, which really does help. I admit there seem to be a zillion ingredients, but its actually not that bad.

I bought my seafood from Citarella. Although there may be other places to get it, and I'm sure its cheaper at those places (oh, how I am sure of this), their seafood is well cleaned which cuts out a lot of the work you need to do, particularly with squid and muscles. The other thing about seafood is when to put each part into the paella. Although I expand on this more in the recipe, clams and similar thick shell bivalves should be put in pretty early, muscles next, squid after that, then shrimp, and scallops right before serving.


2 1/2 cups Basmati Rice (either clean and dry or soaked)
3-4 Chicken thighs, cut into pieces and skinless
4 ounces of chorizo (I used dry, but fresh may taste better if you can get it)
Chicken stock, 2 to 4 cups
White wine 1 cup (you can substitute 1/2 cup of vermouth)
Water (have at least 2 to 4 cups ready)
Olive Oil to saute'
One onion, thinly sliced
One red pepper, ringed and quartered
Two medium tomatoes
1/2 cup of frozen peas
four cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 teaspoon white pepper
10 saffron threads

5 ounces cleaned squid, ringed
1 1/2 pounds cleaned muscles
6 clams
4 ounces scallops
3/4 pound large shrimp, deveined and shelled


Large, deep pan with cover for paella (you can buy an actual paella pan, but you better a) have a lot of space and b) really like to make paella.


Add crushed saffron and white pepper to one cup of stock and set aside. Liberally add olive oil to pan and saute the onions in the pan until golden brown and then remove. Add chicken and chorizo and saute as well. Add back onions and add rice. Toast rice but don't burn. Add the stock with spices and stir. Add the wine. Add two other cups of either stock or a mix of stock and water. You will likely have to add some salt at this time as well (1 teaspoon if minimal stock, 1/2 teaspoon if lots of stock). Add the peppers. Stir, make sure heat is low, and cover for 5 to 10 minutes. Its OK to peek and make sure that the rice is not sticking to itself.

Adding the seafood is a bit of an art. Add the clams first, and cover the mixture. Add the muscles several minutes later. Stir, and cover the mixture. Add the squid several minutes after this and, again, stir and cover. You may as well add the peas at this time, too. You can add a bit of water or stock if things look like they are drying out. If the rice almost tastes ready, add the shrimp, which takes 4 minutes to cook. Scallops should be added right before you turn off the heat (two or three minutes for smaller scallops). Its done when the rice is done, the seafood looks cooked and your hungry and tired from all this work. The shells should have opened on the bivalves. The total cooking time from when you add the stock is a bit more than twenty minutes. Check taste and add salt if needed before serving.

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