Hub’s Hints: Perfect Paella & Sensational Wine Recommendations 13


I am excited to submit my first official post as a contributor to Anna’s “Glamper” site.  Ironically and even though I love Italian cuisine more than life itself, I have decided to feature one of my favorite culinary and cultural experiences – Paella

Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish that originated in the mid-19th century in Valencia on the east coast of Spain.  Many non-Spaniards view Paella as a national dish but, most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian specialty.  This savory and delicious dish of limitless variations is traditionally served in Spanish households for Sunday dinner. 

This paella is considered a “paella mixta” (mixed paella) consisting of chicken, chorizo, seafood and vegetables.  Although product substitutions can be made, for the best results and to insure a most memorable experience, the following is advised:

Purchase a traditional and authentic Paella Pan – La Paella is an excellent source for the best pans, ingredients, cookbooks and more.

I encourage everyone to use quality oriented ingredients – natural, organic, sustainable farmed and free range, free roaming or cage free products.

Use a fine quality “extra virgin” olive oil – my recommendation is: Los Villares Picual XV Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain. 

Use only Spanish “Bomba” rice, this is medium grain rice which has a toothy texture and can absorb complex flavors – I suggest La Perdiz, Spanish Bomba Rice.

If adding Chorizo make sure it is authentic Spanish Chorizo – my preference is Bilbao Brand Spanish Chorizo.

This recipe has resulted from considerable experimentation, working with a number of recipes, adjusting and altering the approach and ingredients to suit my personal preferences and a flavor profile that I particularly enjoy.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this recipe with all “Glamper” followers.


Serves 6


12 oz. (21 / 25 count size) shrimp, peeled (reserve the shells for the broth) pat dry

½ lb Bay scallops, patted dry

8 small mussels, scrubbed

8 small clams, scrubbed

1 small bottle of clam juice

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in half and seasoned with salt and pepper.

¾ lb Bilbao Brand Chorizo

½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips

½ yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into strips

1 ½ cup of frozen peas

Pinch of Pilar Spanish Saffron threads

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil

½ white onion, grated on the largest holes of a box grater

6 cloves of garlic, pealed and sliced

1 ½ large tomato halved and grated on a box grater (discard the skin)

1 ½ cups La Perdiz, Bomba Spanish rice

3 lemons cut into wedges

Make the Broth:  In a medium saucepan, bring 4 ½ cups of water to a boil.  Add shrimp shells and clam juice and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Strain the broth and return to the saucepan.  Toast the saffron threads gently in a toaster oven, crumble the threads and add to the broth.  Taste for salt, the broth should be well-seasoned.  Let the broth sit off the heat.

Sauté the Chicken:  Drizzle olive oil in paella pan, heat olive over medium-high heat.  Sauté the chicken with a pinch of onion and garlic until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to bowl, set aside.

Sauté the Chorizo:  Drizzle olive oil in paella pan, heat olive over medium-high heat.  Sauté the chorizo with a pinch of onion and garlic until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to bowl with chicken, set aside.

Sauté the Peppers:  Drizzle olive oil in paella pan (in same pan), heat over medium-high heat.  Sauté the peppers with a pinch of onion and garlic until the peppers are tender but not limp.  Transfer to bowl with the chicken and chorizo, set aside and cover with aluminum foil.

Sauté the Seafood:  Drizzle olive oil in paella pan (same pan), heat oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the shrimp and scallops until just cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to bowl separate from the chicken, chorizo and peppers, set aside and cover with aluminum foil.

* If anytime during the sautéing process the pan starts to accumulate a “burned” residue, clean the burned material from the pan and start fresh.

Make the Safrito:  Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the remaining onion and garlic until onion softens, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato, season with salt and cook, stirring often and until the mixture turns a deep burgundy color is thick like compote, about 15 to 20 minutes.  If the mixture starts to sick to the pan or burn add a little water.

Add the Rice and Cook:  Bring the broth back to a simmer.  Add the rice to the pan with the sofrito and cook for 2 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium-high.  Pour in 3 cups of the broth (reserve the rest) and stir or shake the pan to evenly distribute the rice.  After 5 minutes, arrange the clams and mussels in the pan submerging them as much as possible below the level of the liquid.  From this point on, do not stir the rice.  Simmer vigorously, moving the pan over one or two burners to distribute the heat and cook the rice as evenly as possible.  After 5 minutes, add the chicken, chorizo and peppers evenly distributing in the pan.  Simmer until the rice is at the same level as the liquid (another 10 to 12 minutes) and reduce the heat to medium-low then, add the shrimp, scallops and frozen peas distributing them evenly around the pan.  In 5 minutes, taste a grain just below the top layer of the rice; it should be al dente, with a tiny white dot in the center.  If the rice is not done but all of the liquid as been absorbed add a bit of broth and cook for a few minutes more or until the rice is done.

Create the Socarrat:  Increase the heat to medium-high and, rotating the pan, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom layer of the rice starts to caramelize, creating the socarrat.  The rice will crackle, but if it starts to smell burned remove the pan from the heat immediately.

Let the Paella Rest:  Remove the pan from the heat.  Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let the paella rest for 5 minutes to even the cooking and let the flavors meld.

Serve: Place the paella pan in the center of the table.  Remove the foil and in invite people to eat directly from the pan, starting at the perimeter, working toward the center, squeezing lemon over their section, as desired.


There are a number of considerations one could explore to complement this particular dish.  However, wines from Spain may make the most sense and would work nicely with paella.  Considering the combination of chorizo, chicken, seafood and the spicy nature of this traditional rice dish, I would recommend red wine exclusively.  To be considerate of the “pocketbook” and to stir clear of iconic labels like Muga and Vega-Sicilia, I suggest the following as a complement to this paella:

2009 PRONTOS CRIANZA ~ 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), Ribera Del Duero

Ribera Del Duero is 80 miles north of Madrid in the province of Castile y Leon and is almost exclusively a red wine region.  Bodegas Prontos is situated at the foot of the massive, ancient walled fortress or castle “Penafiel” on the bank of the river Duero.  Prontos, which comes from the Geek word meaning “First” was established in 1927 and enjoys a long-standing reputation for premium quality.  Temparanillo that is grown in the north of Spain is often compared to French Pinot Noir and Italian Sangiovese.  This variety contributes to the delicacy, aroma, spicy and earthy undertones.

Taste Profile: Aromatic toasty aromas, concentrated, fleshy, ripe cherry, plum and blackberry notes, vanilla and spice, structured but not aggressive or tannic.   Approximately $19.00 to $23.00 retail. . . 

2010 CASTILLO DE MONSERAN ~ Garnacha, Carinea, Aragon

Carinea is located in the north-central portion of Spain, south of Rioja – east of Barcelona and north of Valencia.  This region is considered the birth place of Granacha and Roman Legions were delighted to find vines and wines being produced in this area of Spain during their occupation.  The Romans however, added honey to the wine to suite their taste – so much for the judgment of the ancient Romans! Castillo de Monseran owns over 20% of all vines in the region and uses only the finest quality hillside vines (at 1,800 ft elevation from the Ebro River) for their production.  Granacha or Grenache, as it is called in France, is a productive, good quality variety that produces softer, fruitier and less complex style of wines.

Taste Profile: Easy drinking, fruit forward style, herbal overtones, ripe berry and plum soft and round.  Under $9.00 retail. . .

 Photos: Anna Sullivan

Fish Piccata, Grilled Asparagus and Lemon Infused Angel Hair Pasta 2

I adore this meal. Well balanced, delicious and easy on the wallet. It’s so simple to prepare and will surely make a fish lover out of anyone who isn’t. Try it for your next dinner party or a simple meal at home. Prep time is about 10 minutes and cook time is 10-15 minutes. Serves 4.

Fish Piccata

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 fish fillets (we use Alaskan Turbot, Sole or Tilapia)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup white wine
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons capers
2-3 tablespoons butter
Fresh parsley, chopped (about 2-3 tablespoons)

Blot the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the flour, shaking off the excess. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute the fish in the oil for about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Note: Turbot is thicker than sole or tilapia, so I saute the turbot fillets longer. Remove the fish to a serving platter. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, whisking for about a minute. Add the lemon juice, capers, butter and whisk all together. Pour liquid over the fish and garnish with lots of fresh parsley.

Grilled Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and ends cut off
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Place asparagus, olive oil and butter in a pan that can be used on your grill. Start the asparagus at high heat in the pan on the grill, rotating periodically, approx. 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the pan and gently place each spear on the grill, browning on one side, turning once and browning remaining side, approx. 1 minute on each side. Pull asparagus spears off the grill and put back in the pan, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Lemon Infused Angel Hair Pasta

1 box angel hair pasta
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, zested
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Cook the angel hair pasta per the package instructions. When the pasta is almost done, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the lemon zest, salt and pepper and cook for about 1 minute. Drain the pasta reserving about 1/4 cup cooking water (you may not need this). Remove the infused oil from the heat, add the pasta and toss to coat (add some of the cooking water if needed). Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley.


Recipe for fish and pasta modified from Melissa d’Arabian

Delicious Escarole and Rice Soup Reply

Last night I cooked this uber easy and scrumptious soup ~ Escarole and Rice Soup. Escarole is high in folic acid, fiber and Vitamins A and K. Escarole is a variety of the endive family whose leaves are broader, paler and less bitter. Escarole is not always available in most grocery stores but, we always seem to find it at Wholefoods. The next time you see escarole in your grocery store, buy two large heads of it and make this soup. Super fast, super easy and delish!






Escarole and Rice Soup

 Time: 30 minutes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup chopped onion (I use one large white onion)
1-2 heads coarsely chopped escarole
6 cups chicken broth (I usually use 2-3 boxes of broth plus one box of water)
1 cup short-grain arborio rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onions and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 more minutes. Add escarole and cook, tossing gently, until it begins to wilt, about another 3 minutes.
2. Add stock and rice to the pan, bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
3. When rice is cooked through, season soup with salt and pepper, top with a grating of Parmesan.

Recommendation: Serve with a crusty Italian bread and a glass of a Spanish Garnacha (Grenache) for red wine lovers or an Argentinian Torrontes for white wine lovers!!

Photos by Anna Sullivan Photography. 2012 Copyright.  All Rights Reserved.