Tag Archives: paella

Getting a paella pan

Getting a paella pan

I had been using a large low roasting pan to make paella, and thought that I really should get an actual pan that was meant for cooking paella. I found out that World Market carried a “paella kit” which included a 34 cm pan, olive oil, seasoning, and rice. The hardest thing seems to be finding the right kind of rice for the paella, so I was interested to see how this would turn out. I wasn’t too hyped up on using the seasoning packet, but I figured we’d give it a try.

El Avion paella seasoning

Seasoning that came in “the kit.”

In the end, the paella was quite tasty! Still we have the issue of the rice not cooking well on the sides, but here is the finished paella:

Paella from El Avion kit

Tasty Paella!


Getting ready to leave Arboleas

Getting ready to leave Arboleas

The night before we left Arboleas to head back to the U.S. we went over to the Hostal Meson for dinner. They were having some sort of “quiz night” or “games night” in the larger part of the restaurant. There were a lot of happy noises coming from the Brits behind the closed dining room doors, but we were shuttled into another smaller room off to the side.

I had been put off by the previous meal there, but we decided to try the paella. It was a good choice, and we had a nice meal.

Hostal Meson Paella


Then we went next door to the small grocery store to buy a few snacks for the road tomorrow and for the plane ride home. We got a big kick out of these Pringles. The jamon flavored ones have a couple of jamon legs hanging like they do, and then the Pringles chip is also hanging like a leg of jamon. Too funny. I love how the chip flavors are so interesting outside of the US. Like in Canada where you can buy Ketchup flavored chips. Or Roasted Chicken flavor. You just don’t find that at home.

Jamon flavored Pringles

Pringles hanging like jamon!

Shopping in Almeria

Shopping in Almeria

It was still early in the day when we got done at the Foreigner’s Office, so Lucas recommended that we browse through the shopping mall (since we were parked in its parking lot) and then do some sightseeing along the shore of Almeria Playa.

We had a great time walking around the mall because it was fun to see the things that were in the shops compared to what we see here in the US. There was one store with a cat theme. A true haven for Crazy Cat Ladies everywhere! You can check out A Loja de Gato Preta and see what I mean. Lots of cat items: dishes, textiles, decorations… you name it!

A Loja de Gato Preta

A Loja de Gato Preta


Sophie, erés tu?

One of the main stores in this mall was Alcampo which is a lot like a SuperTarget or Walmart Superstore. It had pretty much anything you might want. We were thrilled to death because we came across an oscillating space heater and a portable CD player/radio. Warmth and entertainment were two things we could use back at the house! We were like kids in a candy shop; ooohing and ahhhing at everything. We couldn’t believe how many paella pans there were to choose from!

Paella pans at Alcampo

Wow! What a selection!

In addition to home goods and electronics, Alcampo sells clothes and has a large grocery section.

Alcampo Don Limpio

Hey! We recognize Don Limpio! That’s none other than Mr. Clean!

Alcampo tuna2

People in Spain must really eat a LOT of tuna! Do you see how big the cans are??

Alcampo Jamon

Now that’s a whole lotta ham!

Alcampo jamon iberico

Notice the price!! (It looks like Curt is about to grab a ham and run out the emergency exit.)

Alcampo also has a big fish counter with lots of activity and lots of interesting seafood.

Alcampo fish market

Alcampo fish market2

Alcampo fish

A face only a mother could love…

Alcampo more fish

Alcampo shrimp

Alcampo shellfish

After our big shopping excursion (we bought a few other items for a picnic lunch, as well) we checked out and Curt returned the shopping cart. I love how in Europe you put a coin in to get a cart and only get your money back when you return the cart. I wish they did that at home in regular stores (and not just at the airport when you get luggage carts) because I bet there would be a lot fewer carts rolling around crashing into people’s cars in the shopping center parking lots!

Alcampo cart return

We went back out to the car and ate a picnic lunch before heading over to the beach.



During this time of waiting and waiting, we decided to try our hand at some paella making.

Homemade Paella

Our first try at paella!

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!

Outdoor Paella

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.