Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stovetop Paella with Tapena Tempranillo

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.

I also wanted to try the pairing of paella with the Tapena Tempranillo a wine that is included in the Tapena Wines Party Pack I am giving away this week. Read a bit further for details on how you can enter to win wine, a recipe book, corkscrew and wine charms from Tapena Wines.

As my paella cooked I uncorked the wine and gave it a taste. The wine pours a garnet color with purple hues. It is fruit forward projecting raspberries and cherries with no overt funk or earth in the nose. I did pick up some vanilla aromas and light oak influence as well. To me the wine comes off juicy up front shifting to moderate tannins that dry out the mouth a bit and noticeable acidity through the finish. On its own the wine is smooth and drinkable without any aggressive elements requiring close inspection. Tapena positions its wines as what I typically call lifestyle wines, evidenced by the many references to Spanish culture, food pairing and the social aspects of wine drinking on their web site. With that in mind I think this wine fits that mold very well. Margot’s take on the wine was this it was a youthful, drinkable wine without some of the overpowering characteristics (tannins, earthy notes) she generally avoids drinking red wine because of.

Back to the paella. 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.

Would you like to win some Spanish wine from Tapena Wines? You must be 21 or older to enter. Leave a comment here with a Spanish wine & food pairing question for a chance to win. If you missed your first chance to enter click over to Win a Spanish Wine Pack from Tapena Wines and comment on how you would entertain with the party pack if you win.

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.

How did the wine pair with the paella? The wine didn’t overwhelm the food. While that might seem like a veiled concern, balance is key in wine & food pairing so when the wine plays nice overall it’s a good start. I don’t feel like the wine accentuated the dish in any specific way, but its attributes were in balance with the paella and a measure of earthiness did come out with the bites of chicken, sausage paired with the wine. Nice.

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 wine. Wine clearly has a special place in Spanish culture and learning more about how it works with different foods is an exciting opportunity.

Leave a comment with a Spanish wine pairing question for a chance to win the Spanish Wine Party Pack from Tapena Wines. The drawing ends at noon on Wednesday December 7th , and the winner will be chosen randomly, so don’t miss your chance! Follow Tapena Wines on Twitter and Likethem on Facebook for updates on Spanish wine & , information on their Rewards Program and lots of food pairing ideas for their wines!



{ 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.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Paella is the dish everyone expects me to bring to holiday pot-lucks but it is SO much work. I know my Spanish mother in law in Madrid would hate to hear this, but I'm trying your new version this weekend! Paella is a great one-pot dish to bring to parties, and this will definitely make it easier (and I won't have to convert her recipe from metric anymore! LOL!).

Island Vittles said...

The whole dish looks amazing, but I love the gold-red colour of your sofrito -- flava, flava, flava! Theresa

easyfoodsmith said...

This sounds absolutely divine. Thanks for sharing

Trevor Sis Boom said...

I love paella! I love Spanish food! Here's a question... a lot of Spanish food has saffron in it which I love. Its an unusual taste and I've never tried to pair it with wine before. Any suggestions?