Paella Party!

June 21, 2017

Thanks to all of you for your beautiful, kind words about my Father’s Day remembrance. My dear friend Barbara asked for the recipe for my dad’s favorite Father’s Day dish – Paella, and I thought perhaps everyone might enjoy it. It’s from an old Larousse cookbook published in 1978, and while the ingredient list is pretty much the same I’ve hacked the directions to make it easier. It’s just as tasty as the original. I haven’t made it in a while, so I don’t have pictures, but this one from the web looks pretty close to mine. Except mine has no peppers…

Paella is the dish of the Valencia region of Spain, and the dish is traditionally cooked over an open flame of burning branches of orange wood in a wide, flat paella pan. I’ve had to make the dish user friendly for home cooks without access to outdoor fire pits, orange wood or propane stoves. Or paella pans. Each family in Spain cooks paella according to locally available ingredients, so while some have rabbit and snails (snails that fatten up on rosemary and impart a rosemary flavor to the dish) some, closer to the sea, use fish and other seafood, and some maintain the Moorish influence (the Moors brought the rice, after all) and use vegetables only. I find paella very forgiving if you pay attention. Traditionally it’s cooked in one pan with additional items added in during the process, but a flat paella pan needs a large, hot burner not always available to the home cook, which makes it harder to time adding ingredients. So mine calls for cooking some things separately and combines and finishes the dish in the oven.

Don’t have access to or don’t like lobster? Use a firm fish like monkfish or halibut, or even scallops. Or skip the seafood and make it with chicken and sausage and lots of seasonal vegetables. Or a rabbit from the backyard that’s eating your bachelor buttons.

Paella Valenciana

Serves 8, Prep and cook time about 1½ hours

3 lb. boneless chicken thighs (with or without skin)

1 lb. hot or sweet Italian sausage, or Spanish chourizo

2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 T. butter

2 cups rice

¼ tsp. saffron

1 packet Goya sauzon (optional) or 1 T. smoked paprika (optional)

4 cups chicken stock, heated

3 medium tomatoes, quartered

Salt and Pepper to taste

¼ tsp. cayenne

A 2 lb. lobster, cleaned or 1½ lbs. cooked lobster meat cut into chunks

1 cup peas, shelled or frozen peas defrosted

½ lb. large shrimp cleaned and shelled

18 littlenecks clams, cleaned

Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place chicken thighs and sausage on it. Prick sausage with a fork to let steam out while roasting. If using fully cooked chorizo you can skip this step, and add the sliced chorizo to the rice mixture during the last few minutes of cooking. Salt and pepper chicken thighs to taste. Roast chicken and sausage until just tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool a bit and slice the sausage into rounds and chicken into 2-bite pieces. Reserve juice from roasting pan.

Dissolve the saffron and sauzon in 3½ cups of the heated stock and reserve.

Heat olive oil in a deep sauté pan (preferably non stick), and sauté the onions and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and the rice, stirring to coat thoroughly. Add the stock, tomatoes and seasonings, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally so the rice doesn’t stick. Or conversely, let it stick so the crispy, caramelized grains or soccarat can be used in the dish. 

Assemble the paella in a baking dish or paella pan: start with ½ of the rice mixture and cover with the chicken, lobster and sausage. Top with the remaining rice and bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Use the sauté pan to heat the remaining ½ cup chicken stock and reserved roasting pan juices, and add shrimp, cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked. Remove and set aside. Add the littlenecks to the pan and cook until opened. Add the peas, shrimp and littlenecks to the top layer of rice and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, uncovered, adding the stock and clam juice to the rice if it seems dry.

Top with chopped parsley and serve with good, crusty bread, sweet butter and lots of wine! 

By the way, I’ve actually doubled this recipe for a bigger crowd. It calls for a larger pan, like a Dutch oven, but it works beautifully. And it’s great party food! Actually, I may have to have a paella party when we return from Spain later this summer. Maybe I’ll bring back some peppers… And a paella pan. 

Enjoy,

Deborah

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl June 21, 2017 at 9:21 am

Yes, please. A paella party sounds wonderful! Hope you get to have paella while in Spain, cooked over the fire on a beach.

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Andrea June 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

Yes! Bunny Paella!

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Deborah June 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Only the bad bunnies.
😉
D.

Reply

Melon June 22, 2017 at 7:44 am

Ohhhhh baby!

Reply

Deborah June 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm

You’d better come!
D. xx

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