After a long week of classes and group projects, I must say I am so happy to sit down and share my first real recipe with you. Now, it is a whole different section of my body (my stomach) that is fighting me doing this – How can I write about making paella without actually having any made right now to eat as I type! Complete torture…
I must begin by explaining that this is not the most traditional Paella recipe, but in order to keep the difficulty level and expenses down, I adapted this recipe to work for anyone, anywhere, with any type of grocery store near by!
I will start each recipe with the necessities. I wish every recipe writing would because how many times have I scanned a recipe before I cooked and realized while I was midway that I actually do not have that spice, or that type of oil!
So let’s do this – Make sure you have THESE ITEMS in your kitchen before you begin with your Paella –
- Saffron – without it, no chance at making Paella. It is the integral spice that makes Paella it’s gorgeous yellow color, but just a warning it is very expensive. All it takes is a pinch of a few strings of it and your dish will be fulfilled. This is what you should be looking for in your grocery aisle –
- photo credit to http://www.saffronusa.com
- The proper pan – you cannot make Paella without a large enough saucepan, or ideally a true paella pan. It needs to fit on your stovetop, but also be appropriate for inside the oven, which is where the recipe receives its finally flavors! Here is an example of an actual paella pan, however, a large and deep saucepan also does the trick –
- photo credit to http://www.beka-cookware.com
Now, the necessities list is different from the ingredients list, so pay close attention to each ingredient listed below. Although each ingredient is crucial, not only to the flavors, but to the colors of your dish, the portions of each ingredient can be experimented with. The more time you spend cooking, the more adventurous your wrist gets as you toss your ingredients into your dish!
1 rotisserie chicken (You will need as much meat off of it as you can pull!)
10 ounces chorizo (Or a comparable equivalent – andouille sausage is slightly less expensive)
4-5 cups of chicken stock (Please read the labels – I will do a post on labels soon, but keep it a low sodium version, and make sure the stock has NO MSG in it)
1 large onion, diced well
1 shallot, finely diced
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
1 roma tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (I really love Smart Balance oil, you all will catch on to that!)
2 cups arborio rice (Feel free to also use any other short/medium grained rice)
2 pinches of saffron threads
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika (make it a heaping teaspoon, it is a great flavor!)
Sea salt and Ground pepper to your preference
Okay – READY, SET, Pull out your pan, put your oven at 400 degrees, and Let’s Cook!
1. I will repeat it, but make sure your oven is on and set to 400 degrees, also make sure your pan is on the stovetop with the oil heating at a high heat.
2. Once your oil is at the proper temperature, take your chorizo (or the equivalent) and once you have it chopped into manageable pieces, begin browning it in the pan. This should take a few minutes – make sure it is only slightly browned –
3. This sausage will then be joined with,
- Minced garlic
- Diced large onion
- Diced shallot
- Diced red pepper
4. Make sure the veggies are constantly stirred so as to keep them from browning. They should just take a few minutes to become tender, but not fully cooked through.
5. Take your uncooked rice and toss it into the pan so that it can get coated in the juices and flavors. This is when you should add in all of the seasonings –
- Saffron threads
- Bay leaves
6. The chicken stock will then be poured over the entire pan so that the rice, veggies, and seasonings are fully covered. It should look relatively yellow from the saffron! Yum!
7. To put the final ingredients into the mix, take all of the chicken you removed from your rotisserie chicken and put in into the pan, and also add the 1/2 cup of peas and the diced tomato that should be left over!
8. Finally, with two hands because the pan should have become very heavy, insert it into your 400 degree oven to complete the mixing of flavors! This process of allowing the stock to absorb into everything should take around 20 minutes, but make sure you keep an eye on your creation!
Really though, about 8 minutes in your house, apartment, or dorm room should be brimming with scents! It is one of the most fragrant and delicious combinations of tastes and textures that there is! It is important to note too, that anything seafood can be added into the mix here. If you want, throw some peeled frozen shrimp into the pan once the sausage is slightly browned and that will add a whole different spin onto the meal. I made this dish for one of my pickiest eaters in my circle of friends and he loved it, he even went back for seconds, so I guarantee that once you open the oven to your completed creation, you will have absolutely no leftovers!
Now it is only appropriate for the best part of the entry- tasting with your eyes!
Enjoy your experience in the kitchen, enjoy every flavor, enjoy every smell, and of course, just ENJOY!
Promise PROMISE you will love this Paella.