My pan overfloweth!
If you are tired of doing BBQ for the 4th of July, why not try a big pan of paella.
My first experience with paella was many years ago in Mexico. After checking into our all-inclusive resort we had a cocktail in hand before even making it to our room. We settled in for a few days of sun, beach and beautiful water. This resort was where I first tasted a white vegetable soup that took me years of searching to come with something similar to what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner while in Mexico
One day while we were on the beach, the chef prepared a paella. It wasn’t any ordinary pan of paella either. The fire for cooking this was a big oil drum with flames blazing from the top. The pan was maybe 5′ across and that they perched on top of the flaming barrel. They proceeded to cook the ingredients, and at the end adding in the green peas. As we sat in our chairs on the beach enjoying cocktails that were delivered before we even asked for them, we were salivating at the aroma coming from this gigantic pan and as they slowly picked up the pan to move it to the table to start serving all of us beach goers, THEY DROPPED IT and spilled paella all over the sand. So, we had to wait a little while to taste it since they had to start over from scratch. When we were finally served the dish of paella, it was delicious.
Years later we had some paella in Spain which was just ok (picture below); I thought it was too mushy. Then my son make it here one year for our Spainish feast we did after Thanksgiving and I was just his sous chef. So, I thought it was about time for me to try it on my own.
My daughter suggested it for her birthday when she came to visit back in May. We were trying to make it for 8 adults and my pan kept getting fuller and fuller until finally we dumped it into my big Le Cresuet Dutch oven pan of finish it off. To serve, we did transfer it back into the paella pan though.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Grilled Peach Prosciutto Kebabs would be perfect for any summer get together. Make them while the peaches are juicy and delicious.
I love this sausage. It is made in Alabama and I either buy it in Missouri or in this case I located it in Marshall, Texas and picked some up on the way back home.
Brown the seasoned chicken pieces in the heated pan until almost done.
After the chicken is almost done, add in the sausage pieces and cook until the sausage starts to brown; then remove from skillet and reserve until later.
My paella outgrew my pan so I moved it to the Le Cresuet pan to finish the cooking.
When almost done, add in the green peas (mine were fresh and I did not pre-cook them), then tuck in the mussels and shrimp.
We managed to get the mixture back into the paella pan to serve it.
- 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs, cut in 1" pieces
- 24 small mussels, scrubbed
- 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1" spicy sausage, sliced
- 6 c. chicken broth
- 1 tsp. saffron threads
- 4 c. arborio rice (or short grain)
- 2 c. onion
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped, save some for garnish
- 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and hand crushed
- 1 1/2 c. red bell pepper
- 1 c. fresh or frozen green peas
- lemon wedges
- 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
- 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- Mix the herb blend together and sprinkle over chicken pieces then let set in refrigerator at least an hour.
- Heat the oil in paella pan over medium high heat. Saute the sausage until brown, remove and set aside. Add the chicken to the hot pan and brown on all sides, turning with tongs.
- Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve. In the same pan, saute the onions, bell pepper, garlic and parsley. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Then add the tomatoes and cook until mixture caramelized a bit and the flavors meld.
- Add in the rice and stir fry to coat the grains.
- Add the saffron threads to the chicken broth and pour the broth in with the rice. Simmer for about 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid.
- Add in the chicken and sausage. Cook for about another 10 minutes until the rice is almost done and then add in the shrimp and mussels, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Stir in the green peas
- Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer without stirring until the rice is ardent, about 10-15 minutes. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you smell the rice toast at the bottom, this is perfect.
- The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom and is called scarab. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.
- I left out the lobster tails and changed the clams to mussels. I added some red bell pepper to Tyler's recipe also.