Paella

“I’ve always wanted a paella pan and my sister gave me one for Christmas (yea!). This was my first time using it and the recipe I choose for its virgin flight was from Cooks Illustrated; one of the only magazines I read cover to cover each month. Overall I was really happy with the way the recipe came out but there were a few things I’d do differently:

  1. Use bone in skinless thighs (rather than boneless) because the flavor was amazing
  2. I purchased mussels from a local Chinese grocery store that were frozen on the half shell. They cost about $6.00 for 2 pounds and all the cleaning was done.
  3. I kept the paella left overs in the pan and covered them in the fridge. I would not do this next time because when I went to wash the pan 2 days later it had oxidized.

What I noticed about this recipe is that everything was prepped in a Dutch oven and then transferred to the paella pan at the end. There were a lot of steps however assembling it at the end in the paella pan makes it worth it. Definitely a fun recipe when you are entertaining. Serve with some sangria and you’ve got a dinner party to remember.”

 Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra-large shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 8-9 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 pound bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, each thigh trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut pole to pole into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, minced, and drained again
  • 2 cups Valencia rice or Arborio
  • 3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 dozen frozen mussels
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

Directions

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon garlic in medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer peppers to small plate and set aside.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to now-empty Dutch oven; heat oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add chicken pieces in single layer; cook, without moving pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn pieces and brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer chicken to medium bowl. Reduce heat to medium and add chorizo to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl with chicken and set aside.

Add enough oil to fat in Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, wine, saffron, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return chicken and chorizo to pot, increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Transfer rice mixture to paella pan and cover tightly with foil. Cook until rice absorbs almost all liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven (close oven door to retain heat). Uncover pan; scatter shrimp over rice, insert mussel halves down into rice (so they stand upright), arrange bell pepper strips in pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over top. Cover tightly and return to oven; cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels are no longer frozen, 10 to 12 minutes.

Let paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with parsley and serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

 

 

 

 

 

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