Paella de ella

Cati and I made a paella the other night.  Well, she actually made it, I just stood around and tried not to mess things up too badly. 

We liked the paella so much; after we had our first bite, we all started dancing around like the people in the Juanes video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FE3XuHfyss

I danced like the guy at 1:18 (he’s got the moves). 

It takes a while to make paella, and the recipe has a lot of steps.  We only do it a couple of times a year, because it really is a lot of cooking.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Extra-virgin, first cold-press, olive oil.   
  • 6 artichokes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1.5 lbs bone-in pork ribs
  • ~15 shrimp (with heads, if you can find them that way).
  • 1/2 lb. frozen squid
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup of flat parsley (or1/2 a normal-size bunch)
  • 10 mussels
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 2 cups paella rice
  • salt to taste
  • 5 cups water

The paella pan (also called just “the paella.”)

the glorious paella

Peel the tomatoes, cut into eighths, and set them aside.  Peel the garlic cloves and add them to a small food processor, with the parsley, and chop thoroughly.  Set aside for now.

parsley and garlic

Peel the artichokes down to just the hearts.  Leave the stems on, but peel the skin off.  Cut the hearts in half and pan-fry them in the paella until they are golden on the bottom.  Remove them from the paella and place them aside in a large bowl. 

tomato and artichoke hearts 

artichokes cooking

Cut the chicken into ~2″ chunks and pan-fry on hi/med-hi, until the outside is golden brown.  Make sure the oil is hot [you may notice that I mention this a lot in my recipes.  I think it’s because I cook on an electric stove, and getting the temperature right is a constant challenge].  Place the chicken aside with the artichokes.

the fixin’s wait

Cut the pork ribs into ~2″ chunks as well, leaving the bone in place.  Saute the pork as well, and set aside.

cooking the pork

Saute the squid until firm and just a touch yellow in color; when done, set aside.  Then, saute the shrimp until they get firm and red, and set aside.  

cooking the squid

cooking the shrimp

You should have a nice seasoned coating on the bottom of the paella at this point. 

 Set to medium-low heat. 

Add the tomatoes to the paella and deglaze all the tasty brown bits of food from the bottom of the paella.  Add the chopped garlic and parsley to the pan as well.  Add a few pinches of salt, and perhaps some sugar if your tomatoes are very acidic.  This step is sort of trial and error.  You know this sauce/base is done when it is thin and oily. 

add the tomoates and mash with a wooden spoon

add the parsely and garlic

Now add everything that was sauteed and set aside earlier to the paella. 

 now things are getting interesting

Add five cups of water, raise the temperature to medium-high, and bring to a boil.  Once the broth is boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the mussels and the saffron; let boil for five-ten minutes (until mussels open). 

another view

Add the two cups of rice.  The rice you choose is very important, use bomba rice if you can find it (it’s at the Co-op).  Boil the rice in the “broth” for ten minutes on high, then for four minutes on medium, stirring occasionally to make sure no rice is sticking to the bottom.  Remove the paella from the heat, let sit for five minutes before serving. 

use this rice; it’s the bomba!

the paella is done

We enjoyed the paella with a bottle of rioja.  I forget which it was, but let’s just say it was Marques de Riscal, because we like that one. 

Our charming dinner guests that evening brought a bottle of port and some nice chocolate truffles for us to all enjoy for dessert. 

the port

the chocolates

I hope you found this recipe useful. 

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