Sunday, December 4, 2011


Photo credit: Shelley Banks
Paella is originally from Valencia, where it is often eaten as a Sunday meal. There are many variations of it with different ingredients.
The name paella is the word for “frying pan” in Valencian. However, the dish has
become so popular in Spain that the word paellera is now usually used for the pan
and paella almost exclusively for the dish.

I love this dish. It is tasty, hearty and easy to make. If you don’t have a paellera try using a wok or a large deep skillet.

I like mine to have a variety of ingredients but, you could easily make it into
seafood dish or leave out the seafood and use chicken or rabbit. Don't go overboard and put too much of a variety in however. It could turn into what has been called " pointless baroque exhibitionism."

The Spanish love the crusty toasted rice buildup from the bottom of the pan
called socarrat so, if you are having a Spaniard for supper, when it is pretty
much done, turn up the heat until you smell the rice beginning to toast. Try very

hard not to burn the bottom.

600 grams chicken thighs or legs
Salt &  pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 red pepper, chopped in small pieces (Morgan would say leave these out)
1/2 tsp saffron threads
6 cups chicken or fish stock
1 tsp oragano
2 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups, short grain rice
2 links of Chorizo Sausage fresh or dried, cut into bite sized pieces
12 to 18 large raw peeled shrimp
12 mussels or 12 clams
a few small squid
1 cup frozen peas

Heat a swirl of oil in the pan and brown the chicken pieces well then remove from the pan and set aside. (If you are using fresh sausage brown it separately and set it aside as well)
Drain off all but a bit of the oil and add the onion and garlic and cook them until they are soft. Stir in the rice and the red pepper and spices, stir well for a minute or so then add the tomatoes.
Meanwhile dissolve the saffron in the stock and add 2 cups to the rice mixture. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium high. Return the chicken to the pan and it is now time to add the sausage, what ever kind you are using. Cook uncovered 20 minutes stirring occasionally adding more stock as it begins to
dissolve. Don’t stir it as you would a risotto. It only needs an occasional mixing.
Stir in the shrimp, peas and shellfish and add the rest of the stock.
If the rice mixture gets too dry during this process you might add a bit more stock or water. You don’t want it to dry out and burn.
Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until most of the moisture is absorbed, the shrimp are opaque and the shellfish have opened. Discard any that have not.


The last time I made this dish I had bought some frozen squid but, they were in a solid block and it became impossible to thaw the few of them I needed. I had to thaw the whole damn block so...I simply cut off and used all the heads and tentacles and threw away the rest. It least one of my guests was a bit put off by the squid tentacles sticking up and out of the rice.

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