Friday, February 17, 2012

Paella & Spanish Wine

Making Paella is a time and labor intensive endeavor. A labor of love if you will. Lacking a desire to expend either in pursuit of a dish of paella means you should find the nearest Spanish or Latin restaurant and have them take care of it for you. I wanted to try making it for myself. The recipe and cooking instructions for my paella can be found at the bottom of this post.

What I’ve done here is an approximation of paella in a classic sense for several reasons. I don’t own a paella pan, I cooked it entirely on the stove top versus finishing it in the oven and I’m not Spanish. Such trivial things never stop me, but after looking at lots of different recipes and the background on the dish, and there’s lots to be found by the way, it seems like a fair disclaimer to make.

As you will note from the recipes below I had to cook before I could cook. From start to finish I spent at least two hours in the kitchen. One of the key ingredients to paella, and many other Spanish dishes as I understand it, is sofrito. Sofrito is a slow cooked mixture of garlic, onion, green pepper, tomato and paprika. The big takeaway from cooking the sofrito was the aromas. I am sure I have smelled them before, but I have no recollection of specifically where.

Repost Note: I enjoyed this recipe with wines from a promotional kit that I received as part of a giveaway. I, in turn gave the same prize to several of my own blog readers. Much thanks to Tapena Wines for sponsoring this adventure. 

Having never made paella before I can’t really say how well it came out. It was tasty though. The rice was cooked to the right texture and the meats & seafood were flavorful meaning they had had enough time to soak up the spices from the dish. And my wife and I scarfed down our helpings.

What I am sure of after this experience is that I need to make paella several more times trying different recipes and styles. I saw recipes with all meat, all fish, the combination similar to what I did here, big vegetable presentations and an array of spice levels. With a better sense of what is possible and improved technique I am sure I could take this dish to the right place. I also need to try different wine pairings with Spanish wines. Wine clearly has a special place in Spanish culture and learning more about how it works with different foods is an exciting opportunity.



{ Recipes }


1 can crushed tomatoes (28-29 oz)
1 large Cubanelle pepper
1  onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
1 tsp paprika (not smoked)
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the pepper into 1/4" (or smaller) pieces. Heat a large frying pan with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Put the onions into the pan and sauté them until they are transparent, reducing the heat if necessary so as not to burn them. Add the green pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes, adding olive oil if necessary. Be sure to stir often, to vegetables do not burn. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Pour the crushed tomatoes and paprika into the pan and mix well. Continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes.


2 cups Basmati rice
4 tablespoons Sofrito
1/4 + 1 Tbsp cup olive oil
5 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 lbs boneless chicken thighs
¾ lb ground pork sausage
20 large shrimp, tail on
16 Steamer clams
1 sweet red pepper, cut to strips;
1 cup frozen green beans
Lemon wedges
Salt and pepper to taste

Take 1 Tbsp parsely, 2 cloves garlic, 1 Tbsp oil & salt mash into paste.
Use a wok to steam the mussel and keep ready for use; Clean the wok

Warm the vegetable stock over medium heat, add the saffron, stir well, keep warm

Using a large fry pan reheat the Sofrito over medium high heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Add parsley, garlic, oil emulsion, mix well. Add the chicken thigh and cook until slightly browned. Add the rice, stir thoroughly to make sure that the dry rice are sauteed well in the Sofrito;

In the wok heat the olive oil and sautee the pork sausage (chunks) and chicken thigh on medium-high heat until no pink is visible. Add the green beans & red pepper, stir.

Add the Sofrito, chicken and rice mixture to the wok. Continue to stir.

Meanwhile, bring the stock back to the boil, pour over the mixture and distribute over the mixture in the wok. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer 8-10 minutes, mixing occasionally.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the prawns on top of the mix; Stick the mussels halfway into the mix. Cover and simmer another 8-10 minutes

Garnish with parsely and serve with the lemon.

1 comment:

James Smith said...

Some fantastic recipes there Jason. I really thought that the tablespoons of Sofrito were a new and imaginative spin on an old recipe. Makes it the authentic choice for a paella party!