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

“HUB’S HINTS”

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.

 HUB’S HEARTY PAELLA

Serves 6

Ingredients:

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.

 WINE RECOMMENDATIONS:

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

13 comments

  1. I am going to tell my husband that I want this dish for Mother’s Day:) It sounds like a feast that the whole family would enjoy – thanks for sharing!

    • Tell your “Hubs” to get with it! Mother’s day may be too soon because it will take time to access the special ingredients. Also, the paella pan is a must and you will have to send away for one. However, you are correct – this is a wonderful feast that the entire family could enjoy. If you aren’t treated soon, let us know and we will have you over to enjoy this delicious dish. Hubs

    • Dear Trials in Food ~

      I am pleased that you are interested in this delicious dish. It is relatively easy to prepare and will be a rewarding experience.

      Regarding spices – the paella is seasoned with the clam juice, saffron, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Additionally, the flavor of the “broth” and the “safrito”, along with the various flavor components of the meat, fish and vegetables contribute significantly to the desired complexity of the dish. I encourage you to experiment.

      The Paella pan is especially designed for this traditional dish. I use the 18” stainless steel pan which is ideal for my heat source and the amount of servings that I normally prepare. These pans are great conductors of heat. Traditional paella pans are large, flat bottomed and shallow. This design allows for a thin layer of rice which equates to more delicious flavored paella. For an in-depth explanation and guidance regarding which pan would be appropriate for your needs, please visit (paellapans.com or La Paella). This is where I ordered my pan and there is a considerable amount of information on this site.

      Enjoy, “Hubs”

    • Robin,

      Fortunately, you will get the chance to “sample” this dish before making it yourself at home. This way, you can decide if the dish is to your liking or what components you would like to substitute (like rabbit for the chicken or adding lobster and crab), Although, I think that part of the enjoyment is in the preparation. With everything done in the same pan it is relatively easy and can be fun.

      We are looking forward to seeing you tonight.

      Hubs

    • Kate,

      Drool on! Actually, Anna’s photos make the dish look quite appetizing but, I can assure you that it will be a memorable experience.

      The original idea was for me to “contribute” as a guest and provide wine information and recommendations. I intend on doing this in subsequent posts. Also and because I love to cook, I will, from time to time, include some of my favorite recipes (the majority of which will be Italian oriented).

      I encourage you to have fun with this recipe; although, it will surely make you drool in the pan while preparing this delicious dish.

      Hubs

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing your recipe and delicious looking photos! And thank you for mentioning paellapans.com as a source. We love paella, and your version looks fantastic!

  3. Sarah Jay,

    Thank you for your comment. Coming from you this means a lot. La Paella was the source of my inspiration and experimentation. Fortunately, I received one of your beautiful pans as a gift from my wife. I arrived at this “paella mixtra” by experimenting with recipes that I found on the internet and following a couple that were included with my pan.

    I have always loved paella. This may be hereditarily explainable as, my maternal grandfather was from the north of Spain. I hope that he would be pleased with my attempt at this cultural experience. Although, he had hoped I would be a bullfighter. I can’t even begin to fathom that!

    As I have on many occasions previously, I will continue to send interested people to your site for information and equipment.

    Hubs

  4. Hi, Paul, this is Mimi. I’m so impressed by your culinary professionalism both on the written page and in the kitchen. You had me laughing every day at your beautiful home. I can’t thank you enough for being you! With love, Joan

  5. Wow! Just WOW! Nice shots Anna and the recipe sounds amazing.

    Hubs — I love how you mention the importance of using some specific ingredients. I may have to try this one on the Airstream since we are up in the Islands and seafood is plentiful here.

    I don’t own a paella pan so thank you for the great recommendation!

    • Monica,

      I very much appreciate your comments. Coming from you, it means a great deal. Your blogs are so incredible; they are attractively assembled, appealing in every manner, enlightening and enjoyable. My efforts pale in comparison to what you produce. I would love an opportunity to “pick your brain” and find out how you so expertly put together your postings (like stitching together your photos). You are our inspiration!

      Regarding the paella, you should definitely give it a try. Considering your tremendous abilities in the kitchen, I am confident that your dish (possible seafood extravaganza) will be most excellent. I would recommend however, that you purchase one of the fantastic paella pans. I have experimented with other types of cookware and the dish does not measure up to one prepared in the especially designed pans. The traditional pan (large in diameter and shallow) may be a bit too big for the stove in your Airstream but, it would work nicely on a portable grill outside the trailer (Webber works well, if you carry one along with you – probably not).

      I appreciate your comments also regarding some of the ingredients. I have learned what works well through experimentation and making some mistakes. There was the time that I tried to use Andouille Sausage in place of Chorizo. HUGE MISTAKE, it tasted like old dirty socks and musty dish water! I like this type of sausage in New Orleans style cuisine but, it was HORRIFIC in paella. With your access to fresh seafood in the Great Northwest, you will be able to make an incredible seafood feast. All types of fish and shellfish work well.

      Have some fun and enjoy.

      Hubs

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