Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spanish Food 101: Paella Española

I love to cook. But I love it even more when someone else gives me a break. My father-in-law is visiting from Honduras and he's been spending some time in the kitchen, cooking what Armando's misses the most. One of Armando's favorite dishes is Paella Española and his dad made it for us this week. His dad didn't have a written recipe, so I found one that sounded about like what he did online at this site. We didn't have any fresh saffron on hand (which would have been nice) so he used some rice that had saffron in it. It worked and I think this is probably my favorite dish yet.

Herb Blend:
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic gloves, minced

1 cup water
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 cans (16-ounce) fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 jumbo shrimp (about 1/2 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half
2 links Spanish chorizo sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces) or turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 4-ounce slice prosciutto or 33 percent-less sodium ham, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups Arborio rice or other short-grain rice**
1 cup frozen green peas
8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, lemon wedges optional

For the Herb Blend: Combine all ingredients, and set aside

For the Paella: Combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, do not boil. Keep warm over low heat. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the tails intact; set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage and proscuitto; sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage mixture and peas. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mussels to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open; discard any unopened shells. Arrange shrimp, heads down, in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

** Rice note: Cooks in Spain prefer Valencia rice - which is hard to find in the U.S. You can usually find Italian Arbor rice or California's new Arbor equivalent called Cal Riso. No matter what, don't try to make Paella with long-grain rice. It doesn't cook the same and won't set up correctly.

Bon appetite.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

FANCY!!!!! I'm so glad to have a good receta, I haven't had paella since Spain, I love it!