I have been in the quest for making a perfectly delicious Paella for a long time. I have tried different recipes, using various ingredients, but this time, everyone in my family raved about the taste. Here is my latest version of Paella. Paella originated in Spain, and the most famous one is Paella Valenciana.
Serves 8 as a main dish – Degree of difficulty – Easy to Medium
Prepping and cooking time from start to finish: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- 2 cups rice ( 16 oz.) Valencia
- 1 cup water
- 2 – 12 oz. can of beer (I used Corona) *
- Saffron thread, 2 pinches *
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lb. mussels
- 18 clams
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, + more to drizzle
- Chorizo sausage, 2 links, cut up in pieces
- red bell pepper, 1/2 cut in julienne
- 4-6 oz. frozen peas, rinsed and drained well
- Hot sauce to drizzle
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Flat leave parsley, for garnish
For this traditional dish, I recommend a Paella pan, 15 inch in diameter.
1) Peel and deveined shrimp, wash and scrub mussels and clams well. Chop onions, garlic, chorizo, bell pepper, get all your spices and ingredients ready.
2) On medium high heat, in Paella pan, heat up olive oil, and brown the chorizo, 2-3 minutes. Add onions, 1-2 minutes, then add garlic, 1 minute. Add the rice and stir well, 1-2 minutes. Add the beer, water, paprika, salt, pepper, saffron, and let it come to a boil. Lower the heat, add all the seafood one by one. Sprinkle the peas around the pan, and decorate with the bell pepper like you see in the picture. Let it simmer and reduce a little, for about 5 minutes or so. Cover with aluminum foil and turn the burner off.
3) In the meanwhile, pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees, and place the paella on the second shelf from the bottom. Bake for at least 30 minutes. Check for doneness, once the rice is cooked, everything else should be done, because the seafood takes the least amount of cooking. If rice is not done, you may put it back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, take off foil, drizzle liberally with olive oil, garnish with the parsley, and place on the table. Serve with hot sauce, as a condiment.
This may take some practice, don’t expect to hit a home run the first time, however if you did, it’s because, you followed my directions, step by step.
*If you don’t want, or cannot have alcohol, substitute with chicken broth, or water. Make sure, you use the same amount of liquid.
* If you don’t have saffron, use a product called Sazon, by Goya, con cilantro y tomate, (with cilantro and tomato) it comes in a package that can be found in the Spanish aisles of your grocery stores. Beware, they tend to be salty, and contain MSG, however, they give wonderful flavors. Use two packets, for this recipe. I have used them before, but WITHOUT THE beer and paprika. (Use chicken broth or water, or a combination of both. This way is equally delicious.
There so many variations to this dish, you can also add bay scallops, and or chicken. We eat chicken often, I just didn’t want to part with it this time. There are some authentic recipes that call for rabbit. If you want to fancy it up, for a dinner party, place a lobster in the middle. Your guests will be very impressed with the presentation.
I served a nice chilled Rose’ with the Paella. It was a heavenly pairing. The rose’ is light and refreshing, and beautifully complements the rich flavors of the beer and paprika.
I had the pleasure of having Paella in Barcelona, and it was an amazing dining experience that I will always cherish.
Always cook with a smile, and your food will smile back at you!