Sunday, September 16, 2012

Daring Cooks September 2012: Paella

I know, I'm a little late in this posting, but better late than never, right? I swear, now that school has started I'm lucky to remember my name at the end of the day much less how to cook.

Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!

I was so excited when this challenge was posted, paella is a dish I love to eat, love to make, and I have fond memories of my trip in Spain every time I eat it. The first time I ate paella I was a little nervous when the waiter put the plate down in front of me- there were crawfish placed around the lip of the plate just staring at me. I avoided the crawfish and their creepy eyes, but as soon as I had my first mouthful I was enamored.

When I got back from the trip my first request for a birthday present was a paella pan. Since then I've made the dish quite a few times but always when I know I'm going to be feeding quite a few people. This time around we invited friends over and planned a night of sangria, paella and Monopoly. One of our guests is not a big fan of seafood so I adjusted the recipe to accommodate his tastes as well as those of us who love shrimp. I am saving the recipe that Inma gave us for another time, I'm very interested to try another very authentic recipe.

I have one very yellow photo of this dish because I was too busy cooking and talking and drinking sangria to take more. But this is really a beautiful dish and wonderful to eat!

Paella (adapted from Williams Sonoma)

½ tsp saffron threads
1lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup roughly chopped canned peeled tomatoes
2-3 lbs chicken pieces (I used thighs because that's what I had this time, I've also done it with a whole chicken that I broke down into pieces)
2 cups short grain rice
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup water
½ cup red bell pepper strips, 1/4 inch wide
½ cup thawed frozen peas
2 lemons, each cut into 8 wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
2. In a paella pan (or large skillet) over medium heat, cook chicken pieces in 1-2 Tbs olive oil for 15 minutes, turning from time to time. Remove and keep warm.
3. Toast saffron in paella pan, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl, let cool and crumble with fingers, set aside.
4. In another bowl, combine the shrimp, 2 Tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
5. In the paella pan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes have darkened slightly, 6-7 minutes.
6. Add the rice, saffron, and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are evenly coated with the tomato mixture, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, chicken broth, and water and season with salt and pepper. Spread the rice evenly over the bottom of the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
7. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Cook until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
8. Arrange the chicken evenly around the pan and press into the rice. Place the shrimp on top. Lay the bell pepper strips over the seafood and scatter the peas on top. Re-cover the pan with the foil and return the pan to the oven. Cook until the shrimp are opaque and the chicken is cooked through, 17-20 minutes, removing the foil during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
9. To create a brown crust on the bottom of the rice, set the pan over medium-high heat and cook, turning the pan occasionally so the bottom browns evenly, 4-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve the paella with lemon wedges alongside.

1 comment:

  1. YUM! I knew you were going to love this challenge when I saw it! Your paella turned out so delicious looking, I bet it was an awesome night! Wish I had been there!