5 Step Paella
Paella is the quintessential Spanish dish and it's something that, on paper, can seem overwhelming. Lots of ingredients, lots of chopping, a pan as big as a toboggan, SAFFRON!
But having made this exquisite dish a few times over this summer, we can attest to the joys of a good socarrat (that's what the Valencians call the crusty rice bottom). And while it takes a little time, the techniques aren't that complicated.
- the biggest, widest pan you can find (or split the whole recipe into 2 pans)
- 2 chicken legs & 4 chicken thighs
- 2 lengths of chorizo
- 2 onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 cups Bomba rice
- 6 - 8 cups of well-seasoned chicken stock
- pinch of saffron
- 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, Pimenton de la Vera
- assorted seafood totaling no more than will fit comfortably in the pan
Season the chicken with salt & pimenton. Brown chicken legs and thighs along with some thickly sliced chorizo in a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil. Brown the chicken well because this is your flavor base. It won't and doesn't need to be cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate.
Saute two chopped onions and a few cloves of garlic in fresh olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.
Add your rice to this mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes, coating the rice in the oil and chorizo fat. Add your stock and bring to a boil.
Season your mix with saffron and pimenton.
Add your meat back to the pan. Lay in some shrimp, mussels, clams, lobster, calamari or any quick cooking seafood (clams will take the longest to open so start with that). Leave over medium-low heat until everything is cooked - this should take about 20 minutes.
We're not going to tell you that you HAVE to use Spanish extra virgin olive oil to make paella - the recipe will work fine even if you use canola oil - but for a touch of authenticity, we like to use native ingredients. And of course, we're simplifying, as we tend to do with these types of recipes. If you're comfortable in the kitchen, you'll know how to tweak this recipe to your own liking. Tradition calls for a shower of fresh peas and parsley at the end, but you could just as easily grace your glorious paella with piquillo peppers or some broiled heirloom tomatoes.