Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paella

A true chef would surely laugh at this rice dish I am passing off as Paella. True paella is usually made in a paella pan, I used a skillet. Good Paella is baked at the end and has a thin crispy crust on the bottom. Yum! Paella has been on my mind lately, it seemed like a culinary challenge. I wanted to see if i could pull off. When I started looking for Paella recipe's I wondered what the difference was between Paella, Risotto, and Jambalaya. Despite the obvious difference in the region the recipe originated from, the three dishes seem quite similar to me. I think the differences lie in the staple seasonings used in the dish, and in the meats used. Spanish Paella traditionally uses saffron, Italian Risotto uses garlic and parmesan cheese (at least in my version), and Creole Jambalaya uses cajun seasoning and hot sauce. BUT I have had saffron risotto before, so that throws my whole theory out the window. In the recipes I looked through, it appears that Risotto's are stirred continuously where as paella's are left alone to simmer. I think this constant stirring releases the starches in the rice giving Risotto a creamier texture. Truth be told, I have NO IDEA what the real differences are, this is just a guess. Any way, I found this recipe for a 1 hour Paella on Epicurious. It turned out well, however, in true Jenn form, I barely followed this recipe. The paella needed liquid added every 5 or 10 minutes in order to cook the rice, I adjusted the spices and the proteins. Also, the traditional Paella "crust" never really materialized. I suggest using a base recipe and then letting your own taste buds be your guide to making your own unique paella.



Paella

serves 4

1 quart organic low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1 breast organic chicken
3 sliced canadian bacon, chopped
1 package of Trader Joe's mixed seafood blend (shrimp, scallops, calamari rings)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup peas
10 cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup green onion
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp italian seasoning
salt and pepper
spike

Start by briefly sauteeing onions, peppers, and garlic, and olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in paprika, saffron, and red pepper flakes. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, 1/4 cup white wine, & 1 1/2 cups brown rice. Simmer for 1 hour. While simmering continue to add chicken broth at 1/2 cup increments when the rice mixture has absorbed the liquid. If chicken broth runs out, switch to water. When rice becomes tender add the remaining 1/4 cup white wine, pea's, and tomatoes, cook for 10 more minutes. In a separate skillet pan sear the lightly salted chicken breast. Chop up chicken and add to rice. Add chopped canadian bacon to rice mixture. Sautee seafood mixture in 1 TBSP olive oil and italian seasoning. Once seafood is cooked add to rice mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle spike as a final seasoning. Serve and sprinkle green onion rings on top of paella.

1 comment:

Molly said...

I kind of hate paella- but I think that's because I've seen it with things like clams and mini hot dogs, etc... and just became turned off. But I LOVE the sound of this one (and am totes going to buy a bag of the trader joes seafood...)