Paella? I want to tackle this for the weekend/leftovers and did some research on it last night. I understand the theory behind it but want a tried and true recipe, any recommendations?
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Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.
check out Tyler Florence's Ultimate paella on foodnetwork (is it wrong to direct to another site from here?) he has tested recipes .... and they are great!
Thanks! And if i can't find saffron is there any substitute?
Paella made without saffron would definitely lack that essential "paella-ness". If there is a Trader Joe's near you, it is relatively inexpensive there. Otherwise, spice shops usually sell it in very small quantities, so you can just buy what you need for the recipe.
The closest TJ's is 2.5 hours away in Chicago :( a sore point of moving here, anyway I'll make sure to obtain some.
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First question, are you able to cook outside over a grill or a gas ring? Traditional paellas are prepared this way but you can manage over gas burners. Saffron is indeed part of its "paellaness". The classic Valenciana would include rabbit and snails, but I also use shellfish as in clams and mussels. I trust that you indeed have done your research, but you must use short grain rice (bomba in Spain), once you've distilled your saffron stock you add the aromatics to the hot paella pan (shallot etc), add the rice push it around a bit. Add the stock to the rice with your other seasonings. From this point you don't stir----unlike the other short grain rice dish, risotto. In Spain they like it to crisp up on the bottom. There are numerous online sources for essential ingriedients such as pimenton, regional style chorizo, bomba, saffron etc. I have a recipe here someplace...
If you don't want to buy saffron and you'd just like a nice chicken, sausage and rice dish try my favorite. I make this all the time and people really go gaga over it. Definately T&T, arroz con pollo. Makes a ton, reheats well, takes an hour. (wow, only my first week posting and posted this twice?)
For saffron, check if there's any Indian Grocery stores in your city/town. If there is, that's usually a good shot to get saffron.
Also my husband likes paella with chorizo in it. If I'm too lazy to go to the specialty stores to get it, I just go to the grocery store and buy some other kind of CURED spicy sausage. E.g. Amy's brand or a brand that starts with a C and has a bearded chef on it. It'll work in a pinch. (no one flame me please).
I thought I has posted a paella recipe, but no. Anyway these are my notes. I have to add I'm crazy about paellas.
Field notes for building paella on the grill;
This is just a sketch ,, but with temps getting up to nearly 150 degrees nobody wants to light the oven.
Use lump charcoal for your fuel. Big Green Egg is a good brand. You can find that at Barbecues Galore in 20 lb bags, and who doesn’t have a Barbecues Galore near them? You can use a gas grill of course but you will miss that slightly smoky flavor the wood imparts. Hopefully you’ll still get the bottom crust (socarrat). Crisp but not scorched.
In addition to a hot wood fire I like to set up a little single burner Burton on a table so that I can bring stock up to heat without running inside and out of the house.
Rice: must be short grain, with the classic being the “bomba” of Spain; available at Surfas or through La Espanola, Tienda or Spanish Table on-line. But if necessary you can substitute an Italian Arborio rice. Please note that while the ratio of liquid to rice is still about 2/1, short grain rice takes just a bit more liquid.
Basic ingredients include but are not limited to:
Light Spanish oil
Chopped onion or shallot or leek
Spanish style chorizo, optional but good. La Espanola www.donajuana.com makes their own regional styled chorizo. A semi-cured variety such as their Bilbao works great.
Imported Spanish pimentos or roasted red peppers (for the latter you can do that on your grill too)
Stock, plus a bit of dry wine
I use a 12” or 30 cm pan because that’s what fits on my grill top and I can still pull down the cover.
And here’s what I do:
A light olive oil, preferably Spanish
¾ cup Valencian rice (bomba)
1 ½ cup simmering poultry stock
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
About 2 oz Spanish style chorizo sliced into half moons or quarter moons (DO NOT substitute Mexican style chorizo!)
1 pimento or roasted pepper, thinly sliced
Blanched haricot vertes
¼ - ½ tsp Spanish pimenton (paprika)
2 oz white wine
Saffron threads (be generous)
[Send the vegans home. Fish, chicken, snails, clams, mussels, sea scallops in almost any combination. It’s your call. Just be sure that everything is absolutely fresh. If you know anyone who has shot a rabbit recently you can use that too]. But for example;
12 alive manila clams
6 alive mussels
6 sea scallops sliced in half on the equator
It’s important that you get your mise en place prepared ahead so that you can keep a watchful eye on your fire and your rice.
First wash the clams and mussels, scrubbing them with a plastic brush. Hopefully you are lucky enough to have found mussels that require “bearding” (easy) because that means that they are really fresh. And if you can’t find the manila clams substitute the smallest clams you can find.
Organize your mise and then light the fire and keep it fairly high.
Start your stock simmering, hopefully on an outside burner close to your grill.
When the coals are hot and no longer flaming (although a little flame is not bad) put your paella pan on the grill and give it a light coating of olive oil. Don’t let the oil smoke.
Add the aromatics: onion, garlic*, chorizo, paprika and sauté. When they color a bit add the wine and push around a bit with a wooden spoon.
Add the rice and push around some more to coat the grains. Add the peppers.
Add saffron threads to the simmering stock.
Add all of the stock to the rice and stir for a few seconds but after that leave it alone and don’t touch it until it’s cooked, twenty minutes or so. NOTE: unlike risotto, the liquid is added to the rice all at once.
When the rice grains are almost al dente add the shellfish. Close the grill lid. Depending on the heat of your fire it should take 2 or 3 minutes for the critters to open. If they are not all open close it again until they get the point. Discard any mollusks that stubbornly refuse to open. It is better to err on the side of safety.
Finito! Hopefully your paella has both a little smoky flavor as well as the desired socarrat bottom crust..
* If your garlic gets a little too brown don’t worry about it. The Spanish actually prefer it that way.
I find the base recipe in La Varenne Pratique to be a good starting point.
Saffron is good, but don't get too carried away. A half-dozen threads are plenty for a large paella. If you're using quality saffron a little goes a long way and can easily overwhelm everything else.
I do think good Spanish paprika (aka pimenton) is critical obtaining a nice smoky flavour. Be sure to buy 'de La Vera', which is a geographic appellation, like Rioja.