It all started with Saturday’s movie Rottweiler and the eternal “What will our second movie be and how are we going to make a food thing outta this?” question. Questions actually but anyway, we had recently done a hot dog dinner so another dog movie wasn’t so appealing to us. Then we decided to find another movie that was 95 minutes long and go with that. But how do you tie theme food into it? By country of course: Food from the country the movie was filmed in.

Rottweiler was made in Spain so we Googled us some Spanish cuisine and lo! Paella came up. I think this is the third time paella has cropped up in my recent history (starting with a food meme wherein I had to look it up, then appearing on Kitchen Chick’s food blog and now, Spanish cuisine) so it was destined to be made. Or something. Hey, I even managed to get my hands on an honest to goodness paella pan from one of my coworkers so we had to make it.

Without further ado, here’s the Food Network’s Paella recipe.

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
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
4 cups short grain Spanish rice
6 cups water, warm
Generous pinch saffron threads
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 lobster tails
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
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.

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

OK, we sorta deviated quite a bit here so this was more of a reference recipe rather than a by the book recipe. First of all, we had brown rice so I had to squidge the cooking times since brown rice cooks at about half the pace as white rice. I let the rice simmer for about 25-30 minutes instead of 10. It should have gone a wee bit longer.

Next, instead of water, I used chicken stock because another recipe had that as an ingredient (step, whatever) and I thought it sounded tasty.

This was a chicken only paella because that was the meat we had, although I would spice the dish up more next time. Spicy sausage would have added just about the right amount of extra kick which our paella was sadly lacking. Also, we didn’t so much marinate the chicken as we cooked it all in the marinating spices. *shrug* We is impatient. And also don’t read ahead very well.

Along with the peas, we added green pepper and corn at the “let simmer 15 minutes” part. Again, another recipe suggested the pepper and other veggies so we did that. We did not have fresh parsley so we used flakes.

We actually had kosher salt!

There was a debate about what exactly a sofrito was…is it sautéing onions, garlic and parsley or does that step say “make a sofrito out of sautéing onions, garlic and parsley in this particular instance” versus ‘make a sofrito out of sautéing clams, parsnips and fudgesicles’. Well, Godzilla says it’s saucing by sautéing. OK then.

As for the crispy bottom ‘socarrat’, we got a crispy bottom but it was a liiiiiitle more crispy than I think a proper paella would be. Because of the shape of the pan, only a small portion of the bottom got socarrated instead of the entire bottom, which I think a proper paella has/does/becomes if you are cooking it over a fire. Even so, the pan was damn hard to clean. I think the original paella just burnt and they made that into part of the dish.

Lastly, we all agreed that paella wasn’t all that. I don’t know if we are committing some sort of Spanish cuisine sin but we all sort of agreed that it tasted like glorified Spanish rice. I’m willing to try it again closer to the book though and I would not mind having a paella pan in my pan repertoire. Not that I really need one (several recipes suggest using a Dutch oven or just a shallow pan, which I have oodles of) but the proper tools for the job and all. Plus, Shiny!

2007: Paella is also a lot like not updating.

2006: JSFR Baked Chicken Pretz.

2005: I was treated to an eye popping spectacle of EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN THE NUDE. Guah!

2004: Nothing like a nervous cat dancing on your head at 3am every night to convince someone to CUT IT OUT ALREADY!

2003: Googling ‘socarrat’ and not updating.

2 Responses to “Paella”

  1. Bailey Says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about two years now, I feel like I’m a friend who you don’t know at all… it’s weird! Haha, I want to help with the JSFR, can I mail some snackage to you? Your way with words is entertaining XD

  2. Boo Says:

    Lo Bailey! ARRGH! JSFR! Once again, I am behind on that. I’d love to get some snackage in the mail but at the moment I’m working on another plan (P-L-N!) which will take me through the new year. I think. I’d hate to have you send something and then it sat around and I didn’t get to it because I’ve drowned in snacks. Drop me an e-mail and we can talk JSFR snacks and timing and whatnot (booniverse BIG AT SIGN mac BIG DOT SIGN com).

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