We have never cooked Paella before and only seldom eaten it. So we had a number of misconceptions about the dish. But we decided that our Seafood Stew series wouldn't be complete without it; so into Google we dove to determine the true essence of paella. Well as it turns out, paella originated in Valencia, Spain and is considered by many to be Spain's national dish. For more info on Paella check our blog. —Tom and Anita Morgan
Chicken Seasoning Mix:
freshly ground black pepper
small littleneck clams or 8 large
solid chorizo sausage, cut into ¼ inch rounds
large shrimp or 12 small
extra virgin olive oil
white onion, skinned and diced
large cloves garlic, skinned and diced
Italian parsley leaves, chopped
can of whole tomatoes, drained, crushed and chopped coarse
short grain Spanish rice (we used La Bomba but Arborio can be substituted)
Use a 12 inch All-Clad stainless steel pan or equivalent. A paella pan is not necessary. Mix the Spice Mix and rub on the chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let the chicken warm up for 30 minutes before cooking.
Heat half of the oil in the pan to medium high heat and brown the sausage rounds, then reserve.
Add the remaining oil and chicken and brown on all sides, then reserve.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic and parsley to start the sofrito. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes then add the crushed and drained tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes while flavors meld. This base sauce is the sofrito.
Add the rice and stir to mix thoroughly to coat all the rice; about 2 more minutes.
Add back the sausage and chicken. Pour in the hot water, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to mix and place the pieces.
Place the clams where you want them in the finished dish and don't stir anymore. Cook for 5 minutes.
Place the shrimp tails up where you want them to appear in the finished dish.
Cook for about 10 minutes or until the clams are open, the shrimp are pink and the rice is fluffy and moist but not dry.
With a fork, feel the bottom of the dish. If it has formed a slight crust, called socarrat, it's ready to be served. If the socarrat has not formed, turn the heat up for 30 to 45 seconds while the crust forms. Then serve immediately.
This dish can either be served family style or plated individually. Serve with lemon wedges and parsley as garnish.