A Word From The Cook
“Paella can be made over the stove or on a propane fueled burner. It’s a dramatic dish that’s easier to prepare than you might think. At its heart, it’s a peasant dish made with fresh available ingredients. You can use clams, prawns or other meats. Or use peas or beans instead of the asparagus. Find all the specialty Spanish ingredients you need, from Bomba Rice, to Paella Pans, at LaTienda.com.”
- For the Paella
- 1 Cup olive oil
- 1/4 Cup minced garlic
- 1 Pound Chorizo, sliced (linguica or other sausage can be substituted)
- 12 Cups (3 quarts) Fish Stock (See below) or chicken stock or water
- 2 Tablespoons salt to taste
- 1 Gram (a pinch) Saffron
- 5 Cups Sofrito (see below)
- 15 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 Pounds mussels (1 pound for stock, 1 pound for paella)
- 30 Asparagas Spears - rough woody ends removed
- 1 Kilo (5 cups) Bomba or Arborio rice
- For the Fish Stock
- 1 Pound mussels
- 3 Quarts chicken stock
- 1 Cup white wine
- 1 Large onion (coarsely chopped)
- 3 Celery stalks (coarsely chopped)
- 1 Stick (1/2 cup) butter
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- Variety of herbs (1 tablespoon each rosemary, oregano, thyme)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- For the Sofrito
- 4 Large tomatoes
- 2 Medium sized onions
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- For a home stovetop, the maximum size paella pan is usually 20 or 22 inches. In an oven, the largest is usually 17 or 18 inches. Either size pan will work for this recipe.
- Find all the specialty Spanish ingredients you need, from Bomba Rice, to Paella Pans, at LaTienda.com.
- Step 1 – Make the Stock
- To a large pot add all the stock ingredients.
- Bring to a boil.
- Simmer covered for 30 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 2 – Make the Sofrito
- Slice tomatoes into quarters.
- Peel and slice onions into quarters.
- Puree tomatoes, garlic and onions in food processor.
- Consistency should be like a thick milkshake.
- Set aside – or cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.
- Step 3 – Make the Paella
- Bring strained stock to near boil and add saffron. (See cook’s note below).
- Reduce heat to low so stock stays hot, but doesn’t boil off.
- Heat the oil in the Paella Pan over medium high heat.
- Add chicken to pan, ensuring chicken has been patted dry.
- Brown chicken in oil on both sides (approximately 3-4 minutes a side) – adjust heat as needed.
- Add sliced sausage and garlic to pan and continue browning ingredients as you stir.
- Remove chicken and sausage from pan and place in a separate bowl while you prepare rice.
- Maintain Paella pan at medium heat and add Sofrito.
- Simmer Sofrito until liquid is reduced. It should be a deeper red color as the tomato liquid evaporates, about 20-30 minutes.
- Add rice all at once, mix in with Sofrito. Mix and distribute rice evenly in the pan while you coat rice with oil and Sofrito from the pan.
- Add chicken and sausage back to pan, mixing in and distributing meats evenly over pan.
- Increase heat to high and add enough of your stock to just cover rice, approximately 2 quarts.
- Adjust heat to bring stock to a light boil and cook for about 10 minutes without stirring.
- Add remaining fresh mussels to pan, evenly distributing over rice.
- Add remaining stock to pan and continue to cook another 10 minutes.
- Place fresh asparagus spears over top of Paella in a star pattern and press into rice. It will cook as rice cooks.
- As rice absorbs liquid it should be plump and firm. Taste for doneness.
- Paella is ready when all liquid is absorbed and rice has been cooked to a firm, al dente texture. Rice should not be crunchy.
- Add additional liquid (water) if necessary and continue cooking. You don’t want bottom of pan to burn the rice. Total rice cooking time typically doesn’t exceed 30 minutes.
- The key is to not boil off liquid too fast so that rice burns, and not too slow, so that liquid doesn’t absorb.