Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chicken and Seafood Paella

Last week while browsing around some of my favorite kitchen related stores, I found a great price on a 15 inch paella pan ($14.99).  It looked like a great bargain and I happened to not have this gadget in my extensive kitchen gadget inventory.  We invited some friends over for dinner Friday and this gave me the opportunity to try out my new pan.

While looking for recipes for paellas, I found there are quite a few variations.  I chose chicken and seafood as my main protein source.  The results can be viewed in the below slide show. 

I used a recipe from Food Network by Tyler Florence as a base to make the paella with some additions and deletions based on other recipes I found on the internet..  My choice of seafood varied from the main recipe and I did not add the peas or the tomatoes.  The main thing I learned is that you should not limit your creativity in selecting your protein ingredients, there is a lot of prep work to put together the paella and you will not be disappointed in the presentation.

The Ultimate Paella

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

.Prep Time:30 minInactive Prep Time:1 hr 0 minCook Time:1 hr 0 minLevel:


4 to 6 servings. Ingredients

•Spice Mix for chicken, recipe follows

•1 (3-pound) frying chicken, cut into 10 pieces

•1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

•2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced  (bacon also added)
•Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

•1 Spanish onion, diced

•4 garlic cloves, crushed

•Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish

•1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed  (not added)

•4 cups short grain Spanish rice

•6 cups water, warm

•Generous pinch saffron threads  (tumeric, cumin powder and paprika added also)

•1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed (clam broth used instead)

•1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined  ( I also added salmon fillet slices)

•2 lobster tails (lobster claws used)

•1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed (not used)

•Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment:

•Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet


Rub the spice mix all over the chicken and marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Add chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from pan and reserve.

In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, chorizo, and saffron. Add the clams and shrimp, tucking them into the rice. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the lobster tails. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect.

(My note: Make sure you taste for salt.  I found I needed to add quite a bit  )

Cook's note: The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.

Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas, parsley and lemon wedges.

Spice Mix for chicken:

•1 tablespoon sweet paprika

•2 teaspoons dried oregano

•Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken; marinate for 1 hour, covered

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