Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Seafood Paella

Paella is a classic Spanish dish that can be made in various combinations.  From a simple chicken or pork paella to a seafood paella or a combination of everything, paella is a great one dish meal.

The key to this dish is using the right rice.  Bomba rice is the #1 choice for most paella dishes because it can absorb the most liquid (on a 3-1 ratio) that allows a moist yet firm fully cooked grain.  Bomba rice can be found at specialty food stores or online.  As a second or third choice, Calasparra rice or Valenciana rice can also be used for paella but the liquid ratio to rice is less (about 2-1).

In this seafood paella recipe, calamari, clams, mussels and prawns are included to the dish with a small portion of chorizo to give it a little pork flavor.  Clam juice is also added to the broth for the rice to give an added seafood flavor.

Note: This paella recipe uses Bomba rice. If using another type of rice make sure to adjust the amount of broth to the rice as it cooks.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Special Tools:  Paella Pan or Large Skillet with Cover


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil separated.
1 Chorizo De Bilbao cut in half lenghtwise and quarted into half inch pieces
1 Yellow Onion chopped
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper minced
1 Serrano Pepper minced
2 Plum Tomatoes grated
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon White Wine
5 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Clam Juice
2 Cups Bomba Rice
1/2 Cup Peas
1/2 lb. Calamari
1/2 lb. Clams (only used clams with shells closed - discard any open shells)
1/2 lb. Mussels beards removed & cleaned (only use mussels with shells closed - discard any open shells)
8 Prawns shells removed and deveined
2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley chopped
1 Lemon quartered.

In a paella pan or a large skillet heat one tablespoon olive oil.  Stir fry the chorizo to brown slightly on all sides (about 2 minutes).  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan or skillet.  Add the onions and let simmer until soft and translucent (about 4 minutes).  Add the garlic, bell peppers, Serrano peppers and stir fry until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add the grated tomatoes and tomato paste stir to combine.  Lower the heat to low simmer.  Add the white wine, cover the pan or skillet and let simmer for 20 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, combine the 5 cups chicken broth and 1 cup clam juice in a large pot.  Bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low to keep it warm.  Keep this pot close to the paella pan or large skillet since the broth will be added to the rice as it cooks.

After 20 minutes remove the cover from the paella pan or skillet and stir in the Bomba rice into the onion-tomato-pepper mixture.   Add 1 cup of the chicken broth-clam juice and the 1/2 cup peas to the rice and stir it in.  Keep the pan at a low simmer stirring only occasionally to make sure the rice at the bottom of the pan does not burn.  Add another cup of broth-clam juice to the rice as the previous cup gets absorbed or evaporates.  When it is time to add the third cup of broth-clam juice to the rice, stir in the calamari and chorizo into the rice.  Then layer the clams and mussels on top of the rice and cover for 5 minutes for the steam to build inside the pan (this will begin cooking the clams and mussels).   Add a fourth cup of broth-clam juice allowing it to sink to keep the bottom layer of rice from burning.  Then layer the prawns on top of the rice and cover once again for another five minutes to allow the steam to build again.   By the time you remove the cover the clams and mussels should be fully cooked and open.  Discard any clams or mussels that have remained closed.  Add another cup of broth-clam juice and continue to cook the rice and allow the prawns to cook.  After the sixth and last cup of broth-clam juice has be added and absorbed by the rice sprinkle the dish with the parsley and serve with the quartered lemons on the side.

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