Sunday, January 09, 2011


I have been dying to make paella, so earlier this week when I took a shopping trip to the local Trader Joe's and found Saffron for cheaper than I had ever seen it anywhere else, I jumped. Now, let me preface this by saying I have never made paella. There are few things I knew about paella, I knew it originated in Spain, I knew in order to call it "paella" you must use saffron, and I knew it had a whole lot of stuff in it! 

So, how did I make my paella? Research. I researched the history of the dish, variations of it, and I skimmed through a few key recipes on some of my favorite foodie websites. What I did was not from any one recipe, it was a collective thought out process that I deducted from all of my research. I have posted some of my research links at the bottom of the post in case you're interested.

Serves 6
First, finely dice a half of a large onion.

Wash and remove the core and seeds of one large red bell pepper.

Finely dice the bell pepper.

Set both the onions and peppers aside.

Finely dice four large cloves of garlic.

You will need about 6-7 pieces of bone-in chicken. 
I used drumsticks, because as usual, its what I had handy.

Heat some olive oil (coat the pan generously) in a paella pan, or a wide open pan. 
I used my 12". 
You could use a nonstick skillet but my research alerted me to the fact that paella as it cooks is supposed to brown and form a hard (almost burnt) crust at the bottom of the pan. I know, its a funny idea, but it is a tell tale, almost mandatory requirement of paella. So if you want to use nonstick go ahead, I have a high quality stainless pan and it was murder cleaning it, but, it survived. Lesser quality pans may not, so be forewarned.

Place the chicken in the heated oil and brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Flip chicken over and brown. 
I hate olive oil for frying (or browning) but again, it is one of those trademark ingredients of paella.

Remove from heat and set aside.
Don't worry the chicken will cook later.

Add in the onion and bell pepper. Cook until soft, stirring frequently.

Add in garlic and cook for another minute.

Meanwhile, slice your choice of sausage.
I actually didn't end up using the Turkey Kielbasa, I used Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage

Add in the sliced sausage and stir all ingredients together.

Meanwhile you will need at least two cups of arborio rice.

Add the rice to the pan.
At this point you want to add in 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste and combine all ingredients together coating rice well.

Add in one 32 ounce package of Chicken Stock.
Make sure you have extra chicken stock on hand, if the mixture dries up too fast you may need to add more during this process.

Add in about 2 cups of white wine.

Stir ingredients together and add in one teaspoon of saffron threads.

Mix together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low, cover and let cook about 15 minutes.

When the rice is almost cooked remove lid and add in reserved chicken pieces.

Spread chicken pieces around the pan evenly.

Push the chicken down into the pan, cover the pan and continue cooking.

When most of the liquid is gone and the rice is done, add in a layer of lump crab meat.

The pan should look something like this.
You are trying to create layers so that with every spoonful a little bit of all of the ingredients are picked up.

Immediately layer on one pound of large tail-on shrimp.

Finally top with about 6 fresh clams or mussels.

Cover and cook for about ten minutes.

Remove from heat and discard any clams or mussels that have not opened up.
Garnish with freshly chopped Italian parsley and serve with bread for dipping.
Enjoy, this meal was delish!


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