Friday, August 7, 2009

Paella Splendide

Well I've never been to Spain, but I kind of like Paella...
When The Salish Sea gives us prawns and clams we immediately think of Paella!

Paella is a splendid dish to make outdoors in the summer. The process of making this creation produces a complex, colorful and flavorful rice based meal.

In Spain, Paella is a popular dish to make over an open fire while camping. The natural progression of a fire fits the heating needs of paella. Over a bed of hot coals the meats are browned and vegetables are sautéed. The fire should remain hot enough to bring the broth to a boiling point, allowing the rice to simmer and absorb the juices from the other ingredients as well as the flavor and beautiful color of the saffron.

The name Paella applies to the rice dish and also the name of the traditional pan in which it is cooked (a Paellera). Paella pans are available in all sizes – suitable for single portions or for serving 200! For making a larger batch, we recommend using a propane powered stand (as in the photo to the left), which has 2-3 circular heating rings (allowing you to turn on only the rings needed to fit the paellera). This ensures even heating of the pan. Visit The Spanish Table for more details.
The paella recipe for 6 in these photographs was made over a propane camp stove, the dish for 25 was made on a large side burner of an outdoor grill.


serves 63 cups Bomba or Aborio rice
6 cups chicken broth
4 chorizo sausages
3 chicken thighs, with skin and bones, sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into slices, sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste
1 large red onion, chopped
2 red peppers, cored and sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen peas which have been thawed)
2 tablespoons saffron
4 ounces capers
4 ounces pimentos
8 ounces artichoke hearts, (canned or frozen hearts which have been thawed)
8 ounces Spanish olives stuffed with pimentos
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika

36 littleneck clams

12 prawns

1 lemon, cut into wedges


Place a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat, rub saffron between your hands and into the pan, use a wooden spoon to stir saffron around in the pan until you can smell its’ fragrance. Pour chicken broth into pan and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn off heat and allow broth to sit.
Place a paella pan or large skillet over high heat and add chorizo sausage (any casings removed). Chop up sausage with wooden spoon to bite sized pieces and brown.

When brown, remove sausage from pan using a slotted spoon, leaving in the pan the oil from the sausages. Put sausages on a large plate or platter and cover to keep warm.

Lie chicken thighs skin side down in remaining fat and allow to get crispy brown, using tongs, turn thighs over and allow to cook thoroughly (takes 10 – 15 minutes).

During the last 5 minutes add the sliced chicken breasts and stir in the fat until cooked (about 5 minutes).

When cooked, remove chicken pieces from fat and place on platter, covered, with sausages.
Drop sliced pepper, chopped onions and 2/3 of the chopped garlic into remaining fat and stir until just becoming translucent.

Add rice to vegetables and stir, allowing a few grains of rice to brown, about 3 minutes.
Add in chopped tomatoes, peas, capers, pimentos, olives, artichoke hearts, remaining garlic, paprika and stir to mix.
Arrange the chicken thighs, breasts and sausage, attractively on top of mixture

Imbed clams in mixture.

Top with Prawns.

Ladle saffron scented broth into the pan, allow to cook, uncovered on medium heat. Continue to ladle in as much broth as possible as the rice continues to absorb it.

During this final cooking process the rice becomes tender and flavorful, the meat is reheated and the seafood cooks. It is desirable for a caramelized crust to form on the bottom of the rice mixture.

Top with lemon wedges and serve.

Serve with a cold Spanish wine, we like this Santiago Ruiz from the Riaxs Baixas region.

We use the chicken thighs for the sake of tradition, using only boneless, skinless breasts will save a lot of time and make the dish easier to eat.

Here is paella for 25 in a paella pan – large scallop shells make splendid servers. For a larger group this recipe can be made in multiples.

There are probably as many different versions of paella as there are paelleras in Spain! Other traditional ingredients include mussels, rabbit and Valencia beans.

When making paella, hope for leftovers! We usually remove seafood before storing leftovers in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, heat the paella in an oiled skillet and top with poached eggs for delicious brunch fare.

Paella Splendida on Foodista


Easy and Elegant Life said...

Mrs. E. and I have been playing around a lot this summer with paella. I've found a really quick shortcut to flavouring the rice in the form of a pacquet of "Sazon Goya." In the event you need a shortcut; although it looks like you've got things well in hand.

Thanks for the note today.

Emily Heston said...

Interesting. Is Sazon Goya saffron based? Is it a spanish product? My son loves paella and wants it often. Sometimes I dress up a package of Alessi Milanese risotto with extra saffron, vegetables, chicken and chorizo (he doesn't like seafood). It's much faster and keeps him happy.
I just looked up Sazon Goya -- sounds like a great flavor booster to have on hand.