Paella

When I was growing up in the Philippines, Paella was a dish we fix at home when there were occasions. Coming from parents of Spanish descent ( mostly my father side ), dishes that were fixed at home were mostly spanish influenced.  But the Paella we had was not even called “Paella”.  My dad’s family called it Arroz ala Valenciana” or Rice from Valencia (Spain).  I prepared this for friends recently.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb short grain rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 whole chicken
  • ½  lb calamari (squid) cleaned and sliced into rings
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large pinch Saffron (substitute – Turmeric for the color,        but it does not give the same flavor that saffron does)
  • 1 ½ lbs raw mussels in shell (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 piece Spanish sausage, sliced diagonally
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, medium or large
  • 1 each red and green bell pepper seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Olive Oil, Salt to Taste

Directions

  1. Put enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Allow the pan to heat up.
  2. Add sausage slices and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove sausage slices and set aside.
  3. Saute’ onions and tomatoes in the same oil where sausage was cooked. Cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Add the chicken.  Season with salt. Cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the rice.  Stir the rice so that until it is thoroughly coated with oil.
  6. Mix saffron and broth. Slowly pour the broth over the rice. Spread all the ingredients evenly.
  7. Arrange the mussels, squid, sausage and shrimp on top of the rice.  Add the slices of pepper.
  8. Allow the rice to simmer.  Add more broth if needed.
  9. When rice is almost cooked, sprinkle the green peas.
  10. When the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Serve with slices of lemon.
Tips
Best way to cook Paella is in wood fire.  Make sure that the heat is distributed to the whole bottom of the pan.
Powder saffron is the best kind to use because it dissolves quickly in water. The dried flower takes hours to infuse the water.
Do not stir the rice.
If the liquid dries up quickly, add more stock.
Rice should be al dente, not mushy. Make sure the rice cooks evenly.  You can put the pan in a 425°F oven for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
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