During this time of waiting and waiting, we decided to try our hand at some paella making.
We went to Half Price Books and picked up a copy of Perfect Spanish, a great cookbook. I love cookbooks that have pictures of each recipe because you can look through it and salivate over the possible meal-to-be. This particular paella recipe was one of several that we could have chosen from, and was called Outdoor Paella. We did not, however, make it outdoors, nor did we have an actual paella pan, but we made it in a large, shallow, circular roasting pan. It turned out quite tasty!
serves 4 to 6
5 1/4 cups fish stock or water
12 large raw shrimp in their shells
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 Tbsp hot water
3 1/2 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 1/2 oz pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2″ pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 oz Spanish chorizo, casings removed, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 red bell pepper AND 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
generous 1 1/2 cups medium grain paella rice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
salt and pepper
1 lemon AND 1 lime cut into wedges, to serve
1. Put the stock in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. Let the stock simmer. Put the saffron threads and water in a bowl and let infuse.
2. Season the chicken breast and pork to taste. Heat the oil in a paella pan and cook the chicken, pork, and chorizo over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, and saffron and its soaking liquid, and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers and tomato halves and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
3. Add the rice and herbs and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute to coat. Pour in about 5 cups of the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Do not stir during cooking, but shake the pan once or twice and when adding ingredients. Season to taste and cook 10 minutes more, or until rice grains are plump and almost cooked. Add a little more stock if necessary. dd the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more.
4. When all the liquid has been absorbed and you detect a faint toasty aroma coming from the rice, remove from the heat immediately. Cover with a foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with the lemon and lime wedges.
*We had a tough time getting the rice on the edges of the pan to cook. It was as if our pan was too large for the burner. Maybe getting an actual paella pan would make a difference, but we were cooking on the largest burner of the stove, and it seems like a paella pan would also be too large for the burner. Short of getting an actual outdoor paella burner (I’ve seen a cool one at La Tienda online) we will have to do some more experimenting.