As promised, here’s our step-by-step process on how to make our paella. Now in the past, we have made this before, but we decided to try a few things different on this one.
In a dutch oven, heat with medium heat and heat up a little veg oil. (pssst, I said “dutch oven” again)
Sausage from a local meat company, cut into chunks, and brown evenly (Thank you West Side market). About 12 minutes.
Don’t forget to turn them so they brown evenly.
Post browning, remove them – but leave the stuff in the pan. Place a few chicken thighs meat side down. brown for 5 minutes w/ lid on.
Flip chicken (skin side down now) and add rough chop onions to the party. Lid and brown for 5 minutes.
Remove chicken and place with resting sausage.Add rough chop parsley (like you cut it with a dull knife-dammit) and 4 cloves of garlic (also chopped w/ that same dull knife-dammit). Deglaze dutch oven of all the bits from the sausage and chicken. Use white wine, bourbon, water, chicken broth, whatever. Just make sure you add the alcohol off heat. Don’t want your kitchen to burn down. “Not good eats”. Mix 8 minutes so that the onions carmelize or become transparent. This is called the sofritto part of the paella.
Add the rice and mix with the stuff in the pan. Mix for 3 minutes as the rice gets coated by all the oils, bits, and goodness in the dutch oven.
Add the saffron. I added a pinch thanks to my fat fingers. Remember, this stuff is more expensive than crack burbon. Use sparingly…the saffron sparingly. Add some water to cover rice and all the stuff in there. This liquid will basically make the rice and the saffron will make it turn a yellowish color. Simmer x 12 minutes.
Entre muscles and clams. Stick the mussels into a nice concentric circle around the outside of the dutch oven. Then place clams on the inner ring. (Note, I screwed up in this picture and the clams should be mouth up not down. It came back to bite me in the ass-you’ll see later.)
As you can see, the rice isn’t quite done yet, but when the bivalves open up, they will release their seafood juices and that will further hydrate the rice. Add the sausage and chicken to the party. As you can see, I only noticed that the clams were the wrong way at this point. Call me Mr. Dumb-ass. Simmer 15 minutes.
Add the shrimp and lobsters tails to the party. I split the lobsters tails in half so they would be easier to pull the meat from the tails. Add the peas, and tomato mix (fresh tomatoes, simmered in olive oil and herbs-basically homemade Italian stewed tomatoes). Attempt to put the lid on the dutch oven (clearly I have no concept of portion control). Simmer for another 12 minutes.
As you can see, the liquids from our buxom bivalves and crafty crustaceans have yielded their liquid love and the rice just sucks up all the flavors.
Plate as you see fit. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley (chopped with that bad knife again).
Now a few Paella purists will get their gray granny panties all in a bunch because they *MUST* have the browned crusty rice on the bottom of the paella pan. Well Cortez-I say, “Screw that!” I personally feel that the rice has to be cooked and retain all those wonderful flavors from the lobster, clams, mussels, etc….to me, those are the most important things.
Yes, if I wanted crunchy rice, I could eat rice cakes. Hell I could just chew on dry wall.
Hmmmm, so lets ponder this for a moment: Crusty rice or great seafood. I think you know the right answer Iron Chef.
And I refuse to purchase a special $150 Sur la Sonoma Paella Pan. WTF? Are suburbia mothers constantly making Paella for their Spanish pool boys?
Ahem-As you know, my only “uni-tasker” is our fire extinguisher.
Bon appetite you rice cake eating fairy.
Reporting live from QuarryLaneFarms