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Culinary Corner: Homemade Paella

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Culinary Corner: Homemade Paella

Mr. Hartman, Adviser

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For Mother’s Day weekend I had planned a special meal for my wife. Unfortunately, the meal I had planned involved grilling and the weather was not cooperating. I asked my better half to choose something else and she suggested Paella. I have not made Paella in a long time so I had to go in search of some recipes to re-acquaint myself with the ingredients and the techniques involved.

What follows is definitely my own take on this Spanish dish, so, a Paella purist may argue against my recipe, but the flavors were great and the dish was a crowd pleaser in my home over the rainy Mom’s Day weekend.

The only real ‘must have’ ingredient that isn’t necessarily a staple of the typical American kitchen is saffron threads. But most major grocery chains will carry saffron threads in either the spice section or the international foods section.

 

Ingredients

 

1 teaspoon of saffron threads

3-4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 large tomatoes peeled and diced (I leave the seeds in for this dish)

2 medium onions chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

2 bell peppers seeded and julienned

1 ½ lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped

1 can of clams

1 pound of uncooked shrimp

1 pound of uncooked squid (calamari)

1 ½ to 2 lbs uncooked Chorizo

1 ½ cup of medium or short grain rice (don’t use long grain rice)

3 ½ to 4 cups high quality chicken broth

2 Lemons

 

Recipe

 

I start by doing a lot of the chopping up front, the cooking is actually quite active so it helps to have most of your ingredients prepped and ready to go ahead of time. The trick to doing this dish right is doing things in the right order and also being patient. Now some folks debate whether or not you need an actual “Paella’ pan. I don’t have a Paella Pan and am not looking to purchase one in the near future so I went with the good old tried and true deep sided cast iron skillet. Because I’m using cast iron the cooking temps given for this recipe are based on cooking with cast iron. If you are using a standard non-stick stove top skillet, you may need to increase the heat from what I’ve indicated.

 

Once the ingredients are prepared, begin by preheating the skillet on a medium-low setting. Once the pan is up to temp, add a table spoon of oil and then add the Chorizo. Stir the meat regularly to sticking and cook until the meat has reduced and is crispy and dark brown. Remove the Chorizo and set aside.

 

Next add another two tablespoons of oil, then add the chicken and calamari (squid rings). Cook these together until the chicken is done and getting browned. Then add the onion, garlic, and tomato. On low heat onion can actually be used to deglaze the pan, but if there’s still a lot of stuff stuck to the pan, add just a little chicken broth. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan, there’s a ton of flavor in the scrapings and you want the dish to be as flavorful as possible.

 

 

Once the pan is deglazed, add the Chorizo, stir in in and then add your rice. Stir everything together until it’s well mixed. Finally add the chicken broth and the saffron threads. After about fifteen to twenty minutes, add the shrimp by submerging it in the sauce and then cover the dish and allow to steam for another seven to ten minutes or until the shrimp is cooked completely.

 

 

Lastly, cut up the two lemons, use one half of one lemon to squeeze the juice on the Paella and then place the remaining slices around the dish.

 

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Culinary Corner: Homemade Paella