Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The incredible flavours of paella (pa-ey-a) never cease to amaze me. The number of times I've had paella that didn't measure up also never ceases to amaze me. The real trick in taking this from ho-hum to incredible is the correct layering of flavour. Ok, so I'm not sure if even I'm doing it properly but the paella I make has always made me happier than anything I've tried in a restaurant.
Paella takes time to make. If all you have is an hour to get dinner on the table - don't even go there. Take your time, pour a glass of the region's wine - enjoy the process...did I say pour some more wine?
2-3 tblsp olive oil
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp (I used frozen)
1 pkg of hot Italian sausage
2 boneless chicken breasts cut in chunks
2-3 chicken legs (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium onion diced
1 1/2 cup long grained rice (uncooked)
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. tumeric
pinch of saffron
4 cups tomatoes (I used 2 cans 1-diced and 1-whole tomatoes)
3 cups chicken broth (home made or low sodium)
1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
I usually add mussels to the paella but couldn't find any this time at the market.
1. Soak saffron threads in 2-3 tblsp of water.
2. In a heavy saute pan heat 1 tblsp olive oil to medium-high heat and add shrimp cooking until just pink on both sides (not more than 5 minutes) Transfer to a bowl until you're ready to use them again.
3. Add another tblsp of oil and add sausage to pain cooking until the sausage is golden brown. Remove sausage to a dish/bowl until ready to use again.
4. Add chicken pieces and saute to get the pink out.
5. Add diced onion until translucent - approximately 5-6 minutes.
6. Add rice and garlic stirring to coat rice with onions.
7. Combine paprika, turmeric, strained saffron juice, tomatoes and chicken broth and mix, bringing up the bits on the bottom of the pan to incorporate to the mix.
8. Return sausage to the pan and mix everything together.
9. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Cover and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed most of the moisture. Check every now and again to make sure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more chicken broth if necessary.
10. About 5 minutes before serving time, add the shrimp and peas to the pan. Stir.
11. Adjust seasonings, serve and garnish. Total heaven.