Paella Dish

Here is a dish that is popular regionally in Spain. It has many incarnations here in the United States. But this recipe is as good as it gets. Don’t wait until New Years to prepare it. This is a great seasonal dish especially for seafood. We carry the paella pans, wooden spoons, local olive oil, lemon herb aioli from Stonewall Kitchen, and implements for cleaning seafood. Becky has been cooking with the paella spices and saffron Barbara brought back from Spain. Our fantastic food reps are looking at sources to bring these spices into the store. For now, check with your local grocer or specialty shops for herbs, spices and rice.

New Year’s Day Paella
Serves 6

5 saffron threads, crushed
3 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
½ cup olive oil, Spanish if you have it
½ pound chorizo, diced
3 lobster tails, shell on, split lengthwise
6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
½ pound pork loin, in ¾ inch cubes
1 cup finely diced onion
2 bay leaves
1 red pepper, diced
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup white wine
4 plum tomatoes, diced
4 piquillo peppers, diced
1 cup Bomba or Calasparra rice
½ cup each, clam juice, lobster stock, and chicken stock combined
12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
12 scallops
12 mussels
1 cup fresh peas, blanched
12 lemon wedges

Make the Sofrito

In a small bowl, whisk together the saffron, water and paprika and infuse for 1 hour.

In a 14-inch paella pan over medium heat, warm the oil and add the chorizo. Render the fat and then remove the meat and reserve. Increase the heat to medium-high and sear the lobster tails, flesh side down, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove the lobster and reserve. Sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken thighs and reserve. Sear the pork cubes until just caramelized, about 3 minutes, and then remove and reserve.

Decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion and bay leaves and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, and when it releases its aroma, add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan. When the alcohol evaporates, add the tomatoes and sauté until soft. Transfer the Sofrito mixture to a bowl, add the piquillo peppers and saffron water and stir to combine. Remove the bay leaves.

Assemble the Paella

Heat an outdoor grill to high. Off the heat, return the Sofrito and chorizo to the paella pan and stir in the rice to coat well. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan and nestle the chicken and pork in the rice. Pour in enough stock to just cover the rice. Place the pan on the grill and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium, or move the pan to a cooler part of the grill, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add stock if needed but do not stir.

Remove the pan from the grill and arrange the lobster (flesh side down), shrimp, scallops and mussels on the rice. If the rice has absorbed the liquid, add more stock. Return the pan to the grill over medium heat until the rice and seafood are completely cooked.

Create the Socarrat (scorched rice crust)

Increase the heat to high and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to caramelize the rice on the bottom of the pan. Watch carefully to ensure the paella does not burn, but do not stir. Once the socarrat has formed, remove from the grill and sprinkle with peas. Serve family style in the paella pan with lemon wedges and Lemon Aioli.

Recipe from The Culinary Center #OceanaCruises