Thursday May 15, 2008
sangria and paella
If you've never had paella (shame on you!), and want to try it first, there are many restaurants that specialize in this dish. One of my favorite places is El Quijote in New York, next door to the famous Chelsea Hotel. Their Paella Valencia is served with chorizo (a spicy sausage), chicken on the bone, clams and mussels, roasted piquillo peppers, and saffron-colored rice. Valencia con Langosta is served with Lobster. Other favorites in New York include El Faro in the west village and the smaller, trendier Boqeria in the Flat Iron district.
There are three main ingredients to good paella: the rice; the toppings (usually chicken, seafood, and/or vegetables) which with the broth flavor the rice; and saffron and "sofrito" (see below), the foundation for the dish's wonderful flavor and color. One piece of advice that always holds true in cooking: always use quality ingredients, and this is especially true for a good Paella.
There are a few secrets I found to ensure your dish is the best it can be:
1. Use a paella pan. A round shallow pan, called a paellera, with a large cooking surface that allows the rice to spread evenly along the bottom and easily absorb the flavors of the broth and the ingredients set on top. A delicacy of this dish is to discover the caramelized rice at the bottom of the dish. Be sure your stove (or outdoor grill) entirely heats up the bottom of the pan, otherwise you will have to rotate the pan to evenly distribute the heat.Paella Recipe
2. Use a medium grain rice, preferably Spanish Calasparra or Bomba rice. If you can't find this rice, Goya has good rice and is easily find in local supermarkets.
3. Create a delicious "sofrito", a well cooked and fragrant sauce the serves as the foundation of flavor. Typically this is made with sauteed tomatoes, garlic, paprika and sometimes peppers.
4. If you can, get hold of some saffron. I know its expensive but its worth it. In addition to the sofrito, the saffron is an important part of the color and flavor of your paella. If you can't find saffron, don't worry, you can find medium grain rice that already has saffron in it, but you will sacrifice some flavor.
1/3 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 orange pepper
4 Tbs garlic, chopped
1 whole chicken breast bone in, cut in 4 parts
2 thighs, each cut into 2 parts
salt and pepper
2 cups Calasparra rice, or other medium grain rice
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/4 lb of cooking chorizo, in 1/4 inch slices*
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups shellfish stock (I used clam juice)
1 tsp parsley, chopped
6-8 pieces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
About 10 clams and 10 mussels, scrubbed
* I couldn't find cooking chorizo, so it is not shown in the photo, but I love the flavor this imparts on this dish.
Chives, snipped with scissors
Preparing the Meal
When cooking paella, there is no need to use the cover of the pan. Most pans do not come with covers for this very reason.
Preheat a 15" paella pan at high heat for 1 minute. Add olive oil, 1/2 of the garlic, and sliced peppers. Salt and pepper the chicken and add chicken pieces, frying over high heat until golden. Remove to a platter. Add the chorizo and stir fry about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and half of the saffron for about 2 minutes. Place the chicken back in the pan. Add the chicken and shellfish stock and simmer.
In a separate bowl or mortar, mix the remaining garlic and saffron, parsley, a tsp of water, and a dash of salt (I prefer sea salt) - mix well. Add the mixture to the pan and place the seafood in the pan. Mussels and Clams first, then shrimp on top. At this point you no longer need to stir the ingredients. Add salt and pepper and cook for 3-10 minutes or until the shrimp is a nice pink color.
plating the dish
Remove some of the seafood and chicken pieces to get to the rice. Place 1 cup of the tasty rice on each plate. Arrange chicken and seafood on top of the rice, and add a few pieces of the spicy sausage on top. Add the colorful pieces of pepper all around and garnish with chives (or chopped parsley) and a wedge of lemon. Serve immediately with a tall glass of
1 bottle, about 3 cups, of dry red wine
1 orange, sliced in wheels
1 lemon, sliced in wheels
2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brandy
ice to serve
sliced lime wheels, cut 1" slice, and slip the lime over the glasses edge
Place the orange, lime and lemon slices in a glass pitcher. Add the lime juice, orange juice and caster sugar, stir with a wooden spoon to mix all ingredients. Add the red wine and brandy, stir. Chill in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours letting all of the flavors blend and settle in. Just before serving add ice cubes to the pitcher, stir the sangria and serve
With the tag line: The Best of Spain in America; LaTeinda.com is a good resource for all you paella needs..