Paella is the national dish of Spain and this version is Paella with Seafood. This delicious rice dish has varies from region to region but in your kitchen you can make it however you like. Whether you fill it with meat, seafood or vegetables, it’s perfect for entertaining since people love to watch the process with the anticipation of a wonderful meal to enjoy.
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You don’t need a paella pan, a large or extra large frying pan will do. If you want a paella pan they vary in quality and size from 12-inches to 18-inches measured across. Here are some suggestions.
- A 15-inch carbon steel paella pan may last forever.
- If you are serious about paella or know someone who is this Paella gift kit includes the pan, rice, saffron and a cookbook. When I was first married my husband gave me all sorts of foodie gifts like this and that’s what fuelled my passion for cooking.
Paella is made with short grain rice which is readily available in most grocery stores. It is often labeled as arborio or risotto rice. Spanish bomba rice would be the authentic choice but use what you can find and make some paella soon.
The combination of vegetables and aromatic ingredients sautéed together to create the base of your paella is called sofrito. There is variation among cooks but it is most often a combination of onion, garlic, tomatoes and paprika. The vegetables can be finely chopped or grated.
Considered one of the secret ingredients of paella this Spanish paprika is available in Mexican, Latin American and specialty food shops. Smoked, sweet pimentón is the favourite for paella but there are other varieties available. Use regular paprika if you cannot find this but over time it is worth the investment.
Saffron threads are hand picked from the purple crocus flower thus the high price. It is often referred to as the most expensive spice in the world. However, only a few threads of saffron added to any dish imparts a unique aroma and flavour, followed by a taste and aroma that does not disappoint.
I usually make paella with meat and vegetables or a vegetarian version. Try three or four foods at first, resisting the urge to include so many foods you overwhelm the taste of the dish. Here are some suggestions.
- Chicken, chorizo sausage, shrimp and mussels
- Chorizo sausage, red peppers, green beans and artichoke hearts
- Red peppers, green beans, fennel and artichoke hearts
Are you curious about the idea of a Dinner Club? If so then check out my Spanish Fiesta menu and let me know in the comments below what you cooked.
More Recipes – A Dinner Club Menu, Spanish Tapas and Mussels
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|¼ tsp saffron threads|
|8 oz bottle clam juice|
|4-5 cups GF chicken stock|
|¼ cup olive oil|
|1 medium onion, grated in large holes of a box grater|
|3 tomatoes halved and grated in large holes of a box grater to measure 1¼ cups juicy tomato pulp|
|8 cloves garlic, 4 finely chopped and 4 left whole|
|½ tsp pimentón (Spanish paprika)|
|¼ tsp salt|
|1¾ cups arborio rice or Spanish bomba rice|
|12-18 shrimp, peeled|
|½ cup frozen peas|
|GARNISH - Chopped fresh parsley, lemon slices or wedges|
- SAFFRON-CLAM BROTH - In a small frying pan toast the saffron until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and cool.
- In a saucepan combine clam juice and chicken stock, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside. Crush toasted saffron onto the clam juice and chicken stock. Set aside to infuse while preparing paella.
- SOFRITO - Set pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil. When hot add the onion, stirring occasionally until it softens and darkens slightly, 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato pulp, chopped and whole garlic, paprika and salt. Gently cook the mixture in the center of the pan stirring frequently, until it becomes dark red and thick, 15-20 minutes. Turn the pan often to ensure even cooking. If it starts to stick, deglaze by adding a little water and scraping the pan.
- RICE - When the sofrito is done, add the rice to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring to combine, 1-2 minutes. Spread the rice evenly in the pan. Increase the heat to high and slowly pour the clam/chicken broth over the rice being careful to leave the rice in an even layer. From this point on, do not stir the rice. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, moving the pan as needed so it bubbles all the way to the edges. Simmer vigorously until the rice appears at the level of the broth, about 8 minutes.
- SEAFOOD - Evenly arrange the shrimp and mussels in the pan, pushing them into the rice. Lower the heat so the broth maintains a moderate simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until shrimp is pink, scallops are cooked and mussels are opened.
- Add the peas.
- Continue simmering until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender but still firm (taste a few grains on the top layer), about 5 more minutes. The rice needs to simmer for about 18 minutes total. Taste to ensure the rice is cooked and adjust seasoning to taste.
- If at any point the broth seems to be evaporating too quickly, reduce the heat slightly, cover loosely with sheets of foil, or add a little more broth or water, ¼ cup at a time as needed.
- GARNISH - Sprinkle with chopped parsley and lemon. Serve immediately.