Paella

Seafood Paella

A lot of the food me and Fabio make is inspired by something we’ve had the chance to enjoy in the past – either at a great restaurant here or back in Bolivia, or from trips we’ve taken and the food we’ve experienced while traveling. Our post this week is a seafood Paella, which rather than being inspired by a trip we have already taken is in fact based on a future meal and a future trip that we are eagerly anticipating to Spain.

This is a Spanish classic, and a wonderfully flexible type of dish. We made ours with a combination of chorizo sausage, and fresh seafood (Mussels, Calamari, and Prawns). We did need to pick up a few items to make this recipe – one of those was a paella pan (which was less than $20 at Williams Sonoma) a small container of Saffron – which it turns out is the most expensive spice in the world (no exaggeration) as each thread is handpicked from the Crocus Sativus flower, and a bag of Bomba rice (you can also use Calasparra rice – and even though they both look just like Arborio rice – I read many recipes that claimed the consistency is different, so we decided to just go for the real thing, no substitutions)

Just as with most recipes, we found it to be very useful to have everything prepped in advance – our mis en place – and it made entertaining with this dinner completely stress free as we were able to more or less put together dinner while our guests were over having cocktails (sangria of course!) and when the rice was finished we just placed the paella pan in the middle of the table with a couple large spoons so that everyone could serve themselves.

* A big Thank-you to Allan for taking the noticeably better photos for this weeks post!

** You might notice that the step-by-step photos don’t exactly match the quantity of ingredients listed – this is because we made a ‘test run’ of the recipe before our dinner party. While this really is a simple recipe to make, it would have been a bit much to be cataloguing it for photos while having guests over.

The following recipe serves four generously

The Ingredients

  • 1 onion / cebolla
  • 1 red pepper / pimiento rojo
  • 4 cloves garlic / ajos
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley / cucharadas de perejil cortado
  • 2 tomatoes / tomoates
  • olive oil / aceite de oliva
  • 2 teaspoons paprika / cucharitas de pimentón
  • 3 chorizo sausages / chorizos
  • 1 1/2 pounds mussels / libra de mejillones
  • 12 large prawns / camarones grandes
  • 4 tubes calamari / calamares
  • 2 cups bomba rice / tazas de arroz bomba
  • 3 1/2 cups fish stock / tazas de caldo de pescado
  • 1/2 cup white wine / taza de vino blanco
  • pinch of saffron threads / una pizca de azafrán
  • 1/2 cup green peas / taza de arbejas
  • 1 lemon / limón

The Instructions

  • Heat fish stock in a saucepan, and set about an inch of water in a separate saucepan over medium heat (for cooking the mussels later) / Primeramente calentar el caldo de pescado en una olla, también en otra olla hervir a fuego medio algunos centímetros (no muchos) de agua para cocinar los mejillones.
  • Prepare all the ingredients, dice the onion, pepper and tomatoes, chop the parsley, and mince the garlic / Prepare todos los ingredientes, corte la cebolla, los pimientos y tomates, corte el perejil y los ajos también.

  • Devein the prawns, slice calamari tubes into strips, slice chorizo and scrub mussels / Sacar las venas a los camarones (si es que es necesario), cortar en rajas el calamar, cortar el chorizo y lavar la concha de los mejillones.
  • Add a couple tablespoons olive oil to the paella pan and set over medium-high heat then add the diced onion, parsley and most of the the minced garlic. Stir while they all cook together for a few minutes. / Agrege el aceite de oliva a la paellera y dejar calentar a fuego medio-alto, poner la cebolla, perejil y el ajo. Cocinar estos ingredientes por algunos minutos.

  • Add the chopped tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of paprika and cook until the liquid has evaporated. This is known as Sofrito and is the flavor base for many spanish recipes / Agregar los tomates cortados y 2 cucharadas de pimentón, cocinar hasta que el líquido se haya evaporado.
  • Remove the Sofrito mixture to a small bowl and set aside / Luego coloque la mezcla que acaba de coninar en un contenedor y dejar de lado.
  • When the saucepan with an inch or so of water is boiling, add the scrubbed mussels and cover with a lid to steam for 5 minutes. The mussels will (hopefully) all have opened up. Throw away any mussels that are still closed after steaming as they are not good to eat / Cuando la olla en el cual colocó algunos centímetros de agua esté hirviendo agrege los mejillones, taparlos por 5 minutos . Despues de esto los mejillones se abrirán, si es que algunos no abren esto significa que no es bueno para comer y debe botarlo.
  • Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the Paella pan with the rest of the minced garlic and add the prawns – saute the prawns for a couple of minutes and then add the calamari rings and cook for another 2 minutes / Agrege nuevamente otra cucharada de aceite de oliva a la paellera, luego un diente de ajo y los camarones, cocinarlos por algunos minutos, agrege el calamar y cocinarlos por 2 minutos.
  • Remove the cooked prawns and calamari from the paella pan and add a few turns of fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of salt / Sacar de la paellera los calamares y camarones, poner pimienta y una pizca de sal y dejar de lado.
  • With a couple more tablespoons of olive oil in the paella pan – with the heat brought down to medium, cook the diced peppers for 5-6 minutes / Agregar algunas cucharadas de aceite de oliva a la paellera a fuego medio y cocinar el pimiento rojo por 5 a 6 minutos.

  • Add to the peppers the sofrito, the sliced chorizo, and 1/2 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan and cook together a few minutes more / Agregar el sofrito (la mezcla preparada anteriormente con cebolla, perejil, ajo y tomate) al pimiento rojo e incluir una media taza de vino blanco y el chorizo.
  • Pour the 2 cups of bomba rice over the mixture and then pour the hot fish stock over everything and and stir together well. Add a pinch of saffron threads, a couple teaspoons of salt and a few more turns of cracked pepper / Agregar 2 tazas de arroz bomba y luego el caldo de pescado y mezclar todo. Agrege una pizca de azafrán y sal y pimienta a gusto.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and maintain for about 10 minutes (do not stir) / Cocine los ingredientes a fuego medio por 10 minutos ( no lo mueva ni lo mezcle)
  • Lower the heat to medium low and cook for another 15 minutes (still do not stir) / Cocinar a fuego lento por 15 minutos (no lo mueva ni lo mezcle)

  • Near the end of the cooking time, pay close attention to the pan, all liquid will have been absorbed into the dish, you can place a wooden spoon down the side of the pan, moving the rice off to the side to make sure that all the liquid has been absorbed and just before you remove the paella pan from the element, increase the heat to medium high, just to cook off the remaining moisture and toast the rice at the bottom of the pan / Cuando casi está listo se puede ver que el líquido ha sido absorbido, si es posible con una cuchara de palo trata de ver al fondo de la paellera si es que esta seco. Antes de sacar la paellera fuera del fuego, subir la temperatura a fuego medio alto, esto es para rápidamente abosorber todo el líquido y tostar el arroz un poco
  • Place the already cooked mussels into the rice in a circle around the pan, distribute the rest of the seafood throughout the middle of the dish and sprinkle everything with the green peas. Cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. This will heat the mussels and seafood back up as they have been sitting out for 25 minutes or so / Colocar la comida de mar que ya está cocinada sobre la paella, también las arbejas. Tapar la paellera con papel aluminio y dejar a un lado por 5 minutos, esto es para calentar la comida de mar.

Serve the dish with plenty of lemon wedges for squeezing over the rice and seafood / Servir la paella con rodajas de limón para exprimir sobre la paella y la comida de mar

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