Sunday, May 14, 2006

Outdun agin......Paella....

Well Sir....several years back I was in Winnemucca, Nevada on business and while there, I met some nice folks who took it upon themselves to show me the town and a good time....thanks agin Steph & Carol.

One a the places they took me was to the Winnemucca Hotel...noted fer two things...Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once stayed there (and the next day the robbed the local bank)...and their Paella.

Now...this eastern boy had never had Paella afore...and upon tastin it fer the first time...fell in love with it. So...over the years...I put t'gether a real good recipee of my own fer Paella and until recently...thought I had a somethin real good...but....thing's change.

A weel or so ago...I met a great group of men that I had somthin in common with...we were all old or retired Submariners and all of us had blogs. I was very fortunate to have been invited into their blog(s) and organization "Ultraquiet No More" .

Now a the good old "bubbleheads" (slang fer submariner) over there, Hal Bollman who's blog is "A Geezer's Corner"...had an absolutely great soundin recipee fer's...I asked him he be a mindin whether or not I reprinted the article and he said great. Now...bout a month of my recipee's..."Hoppin John", was outdun by a couple a real nice women out on the west coast, Miss Fanny and Miss Vera...put my recipee t'shame their's did...and the same with this Paella recipee frum tis.....his whole article.....

PAELLA for 4.... can use mexican chorizo, and saffron is available in almost every supermarket in the spice section. the rice, well, I wouldn't use the classic american long grain calrose rice. if you can't get paella rice, rissoto rice (arborio) would work well. it needs to be harder than standard long grain. if you don't use a harder rice, the dish will end up being a paste. no good. the seafood is up to you to find anyway. and while a paella pan is nice to have, any oven proof saute pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients will work fine. as a matter of fact, a cast iron skillet would be an ideal pan for this.the following is my "modified from the basic paella recipe" recipe from the Spanish Table. the dish takes around an hour to make, from prep through pulling from the oven. time well spent, if you ask methe list of ingredients is per person serving, unless otherwise noted ingredients:

1/2 cup paella rice per serving

1 cup liquid per serving.

this was a total of 4 cups for this dish, consisting of 1/2 cup white wine for the saffron (and a glass for the cook),

8 oz. clam juice, and the rest chicken stock.

1 clove garlic per serving, minced. who am i kidding. this is a 4 serving dish, and i used 7 cloves. and it was GOOD!

1/4 cup chopped onion. for 4, i just used one whole red onion.

2 or 3 tiger prawns or any large shrimp, shelled and deveined (1/2 pound, about 10 was perfect for 4 servings)

2 or 3 clams

1 chicken thigh. i used boneless, skinless ones, because quite frankly i hate rubbery chicken skin. and this is a sure fire way to get rubbery chicken skin, by simmering for 1/2 an hour

1/2 stick chorizo sliced into thin rounds for the whole dish, about 8 ounces,

pinch of saffron. the cookbooks all say around 5 strands per serving. i used a couple good sized pinches. see the photo below for what was perfect for 4 servings

1/4 tomato, grated into the pan at the appropriate time, discarding the extra skin left over when you are done using your box grater

2 tbs olive oil. the goal is to completely cover the bottom of your pan with olive oil. the most common mistake folks make when preparing paella is to skimp on the olive oil. this is spanish cooking. the spaniards use olive oil like the italians.

3 or 4 spanish olives, chopped. or do like i did and use kalamata olives, which gave this dish a bit of a different twist.

Remember, unless otherwise noted, these proportions are per serving
the following is my modified from the basic paella recipe from the spanish table.From the writer of one of the cookbooks i studied while dreaming this concoction up:

Paella is cooked in a pn by adding ingredients progressively and allowing their flavors to merge and mingle and be absorbed into the rice. Ingredients are never removed once they are added.

Exception: when using a pan slightly beyond its capacity, I remove the chicken pieces and keep them warm until everything else is in the pan and then I put them back on top where they can float on the surface, rising slightly above the rim of the pan

As you will see I had to remove the chicken for a little while until the rest of the ingredients were aboard.

First of all, assemble the ingredients, and preheat the oven to around 350 deg F

NOTE : if your pan is small enough,or your heat source big enough to heat the entire pan bottom, skip all references to the oven. spaniards think the crusty layer on the bottom from applying direct heat the entire time is the best part of the paella. my stove burner wasn't big enough, so after 10 minutes on the stove, into the oven it went. in any case, never stir the paella after the first 10 minutes once boiling starts. that's right, just leave it alone, and try like the dickens to resist the urge to stir.

and then, pour a glass of the white wine you will be cooking with, and perform a quality assurance test. Tonight's selection was a light and fruity pinot grigio from a local winery a couple of miles from my house. check out their offerings at Wooden Valley. it was a good choice, even if i'm not usually a pinot grigio drinker.

Pour the oil in the pan, and heat it to almost the smoke point. toss in the chicken, and brown on all sides. you don't need to worry about cooking it through, because it's going to be simmering for a while. when the chicken is browned, add the onion and garlic, and saute until soft and translucent, one or two minutes at most. turn the heat down to around a medium/medium high at this point, otherwise the aromatics will scorch. nasty.

next, add the chorizo, and cook until it starts to render a little

while the chorizo is cooking, add the saffron to a small pot, and warm on low, just until you can smell the saffron.

then add 1/2 cup of wine, and bring to a boil. once the wine boils, turn off the heat and let the saffron steep until needed. beautiful color, saffron.

When the chorizo is ready, toss in the rice, and stir to coat with the oil. let the rice cook like this for a couple of minutes at most. it's really important that the rice is coated with oil, and is given a chance to absorb a little of the juices in the pan.

Add the liquids, including the saffron, and turn up the heat to high. bring the liquids to a boil. grate the tomato right into the pan, and stir.

NOTE: if using a spring loaded pair of tongs, be sure to keep the tongs locked closed. DO NOT forget to do that and then place the tongs in the pan. SPROING means a big cleanup of the kitchen.

I'm just saying...once the liquids are boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. I found that I needed to pull the chicken out at this point, because the pan was too full. toss in the clams, hinge side down once the liquids are boiling. if they don't open in a few minutes, pull them and toss in the garbage.

Stir often during the first 5 to 10 minutes. when the dish has been simmered for about 10 minutes, the rice should have absorbed enough liquid that you can put the chicken back in, and toss the prawns/shrimp on top. bury the prawns a little into the liquid.

Place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes. at the 10 minute point, I turned the prawns over. do not stir the dish after the first 10 minutes. Remove the dish, and cover loosely with foil for about 15 minutes. this is what my paella looked like:

and of course, the whole reason i made it was for the foodgasm my body experienced while eating this dish.

I hope you try this dish. it's pretty easy and very very always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

There ya go mates...if that don't sound absolutely superb...I don't know what duz...I'll be tryin this in the very near on it......Cookie.....