August 28, 2007 by bernadiva
I was perusing a magazine one day at work, when an article caught my eye: it was a two page spread on the culinary delights of Spain, with a giant photograph of a beautiful pan of Paella Valenciana. The simple metal pan was overflowing with seafood, chorizo, and chicken atop a bed of saffron and tomato infused rice. The mere sight inspired me to buy a paella pan from Sur La Table ($19.99) and try my hand at making it. I found out that it’s actually pretty simple, and when the dish is finished, it is rather impressive. I am not one to follow a recipe to the letter, rather, I take the general idea and run with it. You will need a paella pan. So here is the basic framework for Paella Valenciana – I don’t know the proportions exactly, you just have to feel it out. If you have ever made risotto before, the process is very similar. This recipe can be expanded to feed many…if you find that the liquid amount seems too little, make sure to have extra chicken broth on hand to cook the rice all the way through.
Per person, you will need:
1/2 c. Paella rice (I use Valenciano brand)
1/4 c. Dry white wine
5 Saffron threads
1/2 c. Chicken broth
1 Tomatoe, pureed
1/4 Onion, diced
1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 a Chicken breast, cut into strips
1 piece Dried chorizo (not the mushy fresh kind), sliced at an angle
3-4 Shrimp, deveined, with shells still on
Red bell pepper
1/2 tsp. Pimenton de la Vera
Toast the saffron threads in a dry sauce pan until they start to release aroma. Add white wine to the pan and bring to a boil, then keep on low heat so the liquid stays warm. Heat the paella pan on medium high heat, and coat generously with olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic, then add the chicken breast. Cook until the chicken is lightly browned. Add the chorizo and heat through. Then, add the rice and keep stirring until the rice is coated with oil. Add the tomatoes and a heaping spoonful of pimenton de la vera and mix until even. Ladle some of the wine mixture and add a little chicken broth. This begins the cooking process for the rice. You will slowly add liquid and keep at a low simmer until the rice is almost done. Add all of the vegetables – the peas, artichoke hearts, bell pepper, and make sure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the seafood and cook until the shrimp is done and the shellfish have opened.
Serve this dish with red wine or a nice glass of sangria, and it makes an incredibly tasty, filling, and beautiful meal. Buen Provecho!