Bell Pepper

Life Path Paella

October 16, 2010
Author Notes

Who knows how these ideas make their way into our heads, right? But what wandered over into mine was that I wanted to make a paella that had representatives from everywhere I have lived - so, mussles (we used to pick them off the rocks when I was a kid in Laguna Beach Ca), red chili (just ground red chilis no other add-ins) from Taos New Mexico, clams and chorizo from Newport Rhode Island, and local quail from right down the road in Lockhart Texas. If your sister doesn't mail you chili powder on a regular basis, you can substitute hot paprika. There is a lot of stuff in this paella, but it actually comes together pretty quickly ... —aargersi

  • Serves 4
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoons New Mexico red chili
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 1/2 cups parboiled rice, I like Zatarains. And listen, no lip about this - it's very forgiving, cooks quickly and works great!
  • 2 semi boneless quail
  • 1/2 pound black mussels
  • 1/2 pound littleneck clams (quahogs!)
  • 2 links (6 oz) spanish chorizo
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (the double concentrated tube kind)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • olive oil to coat the pan
  • salt and pepper
  • a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • juice from one lemon
In This Recipe
  1. First, char the bell pepper. I did this over the flame on our gas stove but you could grill it or broil it. Just a light char, not completely blackened. While it cools dice the onion, slice the chorizo, and mince the garlic. Season the quail generously all over with salt and pepper. Now seed the pepper and slice it into strips. Eat a few, they are irresitable and you have plenty.
  2. Coat the bottom of your paella pan or large skillet with olive oil. Heat to medium-high and put the chorizo in. Brown the chorizo and then remove it with a slotted spoon. Now put the quail in the pan - you want to crisp up the skin but not cook it through, so keep the heat kind of high. When the quail are crisped take them out and set them aside.
  3. Now you can turn the heat down a little. Add the chili powder and saffron to the pan. Put the onion in and saute until it softened, then add the garlic and the rice. Cook, stirring, for a few more minutes until the rice is a little toasty. Now add the wine and tomato paste and stir, then broth and stir, then add the chorizo back in, with the peas and peppers. Cut the quail into quarters and nestle them into the rice. Cover the pan and set you timer for 15 minutes.
  4. You may as well have a glass of wine now. Also go ahead and scrub the clams and the mussels. May as well chop the parsley too. Cut the lemon in half.
  5. When the timer goes off, open the lid and arrange the clams hinge side down in the rice. Don't push them down too far though or they will have trouble opening. Lid back on, and wait 3 minutes.
  6. Now arrange the mussles in there as well. Put the lid back on and CRANK the heat to high - this will open the mussles and give you your crisp (is it called soccorat? I think that's right) at the same time. You can hear it sizzling if you put your ear by the pan. DO NOT catch your hair on fire. This will take just 3 or 4 minutes.
  7. Finish the paella with a scattering of chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. See? Not so hard!
  8. ** a tip - we (and by "we" I mean Mr L as he is trying to get all of the crispy stuff for himself) use a metal fish spatula to get the crisp part up **
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I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage