Cooking for a Crowd? Family-Style Spanish Paella

Traditional Spanish Paella

Traditional Spanish Paella

It’s the weekend and on the weekend, we should cook feasts. Here is a good feast to share (and it can be a costly one because seafood and saffron can both be quite expensive.) Worth the cost, though, with a host of approving eyebrows raising the roof and a story to tell while chowing down. So, Paella.  First created in the mid-19th century in Valencia – a dish of rice, meat and seafood, and most importantly, aroma. The single-most recognizable symbol of Valencia dinner tables and the signature dish of Spain.

Paella Ingredients:

8 chicken legs and thighs

1 chorizo sausage, sliced

½ lb. ham, diced

1 dz. mussels

1 dz. clams

1 dz. prawns, shelled and deveined

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup peas

4 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1 can whole pimentos, coarsely chopped

2 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cracked pepper

¼ tsp. saffron

2 cups long grain rice

4 cups chicken stock

Paella Method:

Pre-fry chicken in a skillet large enough to hold all ingredients, once cooked set aside and keep warm.  In the same skillet, sauté chorizo and ham in olive oil until lightly browned. Add bell pepper, onion, and rice – continue cooking until onions are transparent.

While mixture is cooking, dust chicken with saffron.

Add peas to rice mixture, then arrange chicken, clams, mussels and prawns across the top.

Dust with oregano, parsley and pimento, then cover.  Cook over low heat for 20 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes covered before removing lid.

Saffron Rice Ingredients:

1 ½ cups, long grain rice

½ tsp. saffron threads dissolved in 1 cup water

2 ½ cups water

½ stick unsalted butter

Saffron Rice Method:

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and add rice, stirring until coated over medium heat.  Add saffron mixture, water and salt to taste and bring to a boil.  Cover tightly and simmer for approximately twenty minutes until rice is tender.

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Categories: Food + Drink, On a fork, Recipes

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2 Comments on “Cooking for a Crowd? Family-Style Spanish Paella”

  1. January 8, 2013 at 11:35 PM #

    The recipe is spot on! Rather than chicken stock, I make seafood stock by boiling the shells of the shrimps and combining that stock with stock obtained by boiling the mussels briefly beforehand. It gives great flavor! But that’s a matter of personal taste. More importantly, real paella is never covered with a lid. It should be cooked on an open paella (the name of the dish comes from the typical, very large round skillet). The ingredients should form a relatively thin layer, and they get spread out on the paella. Purist would say it must be cooked on an open fire too, but it works perfectly on an electric stove.
    Thanks for posting 🙂

    • January 9, 2013 at 6:27 PM #

      Broth with deeply developed flavors (like that which undoubtedly comes from your method of creating stock) really separates the boys from the men, we think, when it comes to the sophistication of a dish. And even more, using purist methods from the region that a dish is conceived – excellent advice!

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