Tuesday, February 1, 2011


So I decided to be adventurous this week and attempt a dish I have only eaten once! Actually, Justin pushed me to be adventurous by begging that I make paella for dinner this week.  My only issue with making dishes that I am not super familiar with is that I have no bench mark to compare it to!  Anyway, I sucked it up and headed to the kitchen. It actually was not that difficult to make and the only thing I would do differently is probably add less saffron next time.  Justin loved it, but it was too saffrony for me. Next time I am going to try a paella seasoning from Spices Inc.  Also, I highly recommend making the soccarat in step 6, it is what paella is known for!

1 lb large peeled deveined shrimp
8-9 cloves of garlic pressed through a garlic press or minced by hand
1 lb boneless, skinless thighs cut into bite sizes strips
1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
8 oz spanish chorizo, cut 1/2 thick
1 medium onion chopped fine
2 cups arborio 
3 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp. saffron threads crumbled 
1 bay leaf
1 dozen mussels scrubbed and debearded
1/2 cup thawed peas
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley 
1 lemon cut into wedges for serving 
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon garlic in medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer peppers to small plate and set aside.
3. Add 1teaspoon oil to now-empty Dutch oven; heat oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add chicken pieces in single layer; cook, without moving pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn pieces and brown on second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer chicken to medium bowl. Reduce heat to medium and add chorizo to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl with chicken and set aside.
4. Add enough oil to fat in Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; cook until mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice and cook until grains are well coated with tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return chicken and chorizo to pot, increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until rice absorbs almost all liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from oven (close oven door to retain heat). Uncover pot; scatter shrimp over rice, insert mussels hinged side down into rice (so they stand upright), arrange bell pepper strips in pinwheel pattern, and scatter peas over top. Cover and return to oven; cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Optional: If soccarat (see note) is desired, set Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, rotating pot 180 degrees after about 2 minutes for even browning. 
6. For soccarat (the yummy crusty pieces at the bottom of the pan) let pan sit, uncovered for 5 minutes, rotation 180 degrees every couple of minutes. 7. Let paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and bay leaf, if it can be easily removed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve, passing lemon wedges separately 

Source: Cooks Illustrated

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