Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer Time, Paella Time!

One of my favorite summer time dishes to prepare on the grill is Paella. Truth be told, I actually watch the Tea Drinker prepare this tasty meal, as I sit on my bum with a glass of rose in hand. Nonetheless, this dish is a perfect choice for a party. It’s a beautiful edible centerpiece. Take the time to prep your ingredients during the day while sipping your favorite Drink the Leaf ICED TEA , chill down a variety of Spanish wines, call up your friends and family, and let the fun begin.

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that hails from Valencia using chicken, rabbit, snails, and fresh beans. I am happy to report that ours is quite different- no snails or rabbits here. What we love best about this dish is how versatile it is. Pick and choose the ingredients that you like and add them to the pan. The main ingredient is rice and you build from there.

Shopping List:
-Paella Pan we own two- one small for about 4 people, and a larger one that can feed up to 8. I love Paella pans, I am tempted to start a collection!
-½ cup of rice per person, Arborio works best
-1 cup of chicken stock per ½ cup of Rice
-5 threads of toasted saffron per person, dissolve in ½ cup of white wine. Saffron is expensive, but it is a necessary flavor component for this dish.
-Olive Oil
-1 chicken thigh per person, cut into 2 pieces
-½ spicy sausage per person, such as chorizo- we use spicy turkey Italian
-½ tsp Spanish paprika per person, a lovely sweet, smoky spice
-1 clove of garlic per person
-¼ cup of chopped onion per person
-1/8 cup of grated tomato, person
-2 Shrimp per person
-3 clams per person, manila
-2 mussels per person
-Red piquillo peppers cut in strips. We use jarred roasted red peppers.
-Frozen peas- couple of handfuls
-Lemon wedges
-Sour Cream- our secret ingredient
-Chopped Italian Parsley

We find that it’s easiest to prep all of your ingredients ahead of time, and then stage them in order of going into the pan. The most important ingredient that I left out above is: PATIENCE. So, pour yourself a glass of Spanish wine, visit with guests, and watch the show.

1) Heat Chicken Stock, keep warm
2) Toast Saffron in pan, slightly, add white wine, bring to boil, then remove from heat
3) Heat Paella pan over medium heat, add olive oil, enough to coat pan, add chicken pieces- cook until golden, and juice runs clear
4) Add garlic and onions Рsaut̩ until translucent
5) Add sausage, until just cooked through
6) Add rice, stir well until coated with oil.
7) Add paprika, grated tomato, stir in saffron wine, and hot stock.
8) Bring to boil, scraping up bottom of pan
9) Add red piquillo peppers, and peas
10) Bring to slow boil and let the broth cook down. Should take about 15-20 minutes. Do NOT stir the rice. You want to achieve the lovely caramelized flavor that occurs as the rice on the bottom of the pan creates a nice crusty layer. Considered by some, myself included, to be the best part.
11) Add seafood about 5 minutes before rice is done- al dente. The shrimp will turn pink, and the clams/mussels will pop open.
12) Remove from Grill – garnish with chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and a dollop of sour cream
Recipe adapted from various Spanish cookbooks.

Need an appetizer idea: Set out Spiced Spanish almonds, mixed olives, Manchego cheese and slices of fresh bread.


As a side note, if you visit Napa Valley, and you are hankering for great paella- head to ZuZu. It’s a local favorite of ours.


Alexa Bond said...

Yum. I love Paella. I've got a paella post somewhere in my blog from last summer.

Anonymous said...

Ummm - delicious!!!! I can't believe I don't own a paella pan. This seals the deal: it's on the weekend shopping list. :)