I actually used the paella pan!
I was kind of expecting it to sit in my pantry for
ever a lot longer than it did, but paella has been made. This was the pan we picked up in Boise at The Basque Market on the road trip. It successfully made paella. I’m pretty sure I bastardized it. When researching a good recipe, I came across so many conflicting ways to “correctly” make paella. It’s origins are from Valencia, Spain, and it’s cooked over open flame in the paella pan sometimes called a paellera. From there, there are several types of paellas, do’s, don’ts, and techniques. Two things I did that will probably get shamed is the use of chorizo and not using the correct rice. I didn’t want to buy a separate thing of bomba/Valencia rice. I have a huge bag of jasmine rice in the pantry. You see where I’m going with this. Yes, I used jasmine rice in a paella. I’m not sorry. It turned out just fine. I even got the coveted socarrat, which is the layer of toasted rice at the bottom. It’s a delicacy in Spanish tradition. I’m personally not a huge fan of burnt toasted rice, but all in the name of authenticity.
Of the various types of paellas you can make, I went with the mixed so there would be a little of everything — chicken, shrimp, chorizo, mussels. There is so much flavor going around in the mixed version. Had I added some green beans, it would have been a nod to the Valencia paella tradition, but I didn’t. I was running out of pan space as it was. It’s protein.com over here. Olympia Provisions makes a really great Chorizo Rioja by the way. What didn’t make it into the pan made it into my mouth. If there is one thing I’m really, really, really glad I did was buy some saffron. I die a little inside when I see how much saffron costs and how little you’re getting, but it makes the biggest difference. Have you smelled saffron on its own? It smells like paella. I can’t imagine paella without it. Get a few strands. Cherish them.
This all came together really easily. Get everything prepped in advance. The biggest hassle is bringing everything out with you to the grill. Make sure you have everything handy. There are a few steps, but if you have it all near you, it’ll go by quick. That grill gets really hot. Tongs are necessary to move the pan around to avoid hot spots. Changing the type of rice really didn’t make a difference from a timing or broth perspective. I wouldn’t use any sort of brown rice though.
I’ve only made the paella once, but the heat changed the color of the pan so it looks well used. I’m into it. Now to make more paella.
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1lb boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 8oz cured chorizo, sliced thin
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 cups white rice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 16 mussels
- salt and pepper
- parsley and lemon wedges for serving
In a bowl, toss the shrimp in 1/2 of the paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside in the fridge.
Grate or peel and dice the tomatoes. This should yield about 3/4 cup of pulp.
Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat the grill on high. It should get to 450° – 550°. Hot. Add the paella pan to the grill and let it heat up for a few minutes. This will keep everything from sticking. Add the chorizo. Stir it only a couple of times. Let the fat render and the edges get crispy. Remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add a tablespoon or two of the olive oil to the pan depending on how much fat was rendered. I needed both tablespoons.
Add the chicken in a single even layer. Sear each side for several minutes before moving the chicken to the bowl with the chorizo. Add the onions. Stir occasionally so they don’t burn. This may mean moving the pan or turning down the heat. Once browned, add the remaining paprika, garlic, and saffron threads. Stir for only 30 seconds before adding the tomato pulp. Use the juice to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. The color of the tomato will darken as it cooks, approximately three minutes. Add the rice and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to mix thoroughly and the rice is coated in tomato before adding the broth.
Arrange the chicken and chorizo amongst the rice. Bring everything to a simmer. Close the grill and only check on it every few minutes to rotate the pan so it doesn’t burn. DON’T STIR THE RICE. This will help ensure the toasted layer on the bottom. After about 10-12 minutes, the broth should be mostly absorbed. Arrange the shrimp and mussels hinge side down into the rice mixture.
Cook everything for another 10-12 minutes. The mussels should have opened and the rice should be tender. Remove the paella from the grill and cover it with foil. Let it rest for at least five minutes before serving. Toss any unopened mussels and sprinkle the finished product with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.