My Recipe for Paella
by Nick Miller
Paella is one of my three favorite dishes (shrimp mousse and stuffed mushrooms are the other two; look for their recipes in the index.) to take to a party.
The first time I ever had it, it was made by a Dutch / German friend, when I lived in Germany. I have since made it in both the USA and Japan, one time for a group of all Philippinos, in Japan, on New Years Day! I have even taught how to make it to several classes in Japan.
The following is a 'good basic recipe'. Like most recipes, feel free to change the spices and ingredients to your taste. Paella has many variations. Without getting complicated or too specialized, let's just say you can make it as YOU like it (select from the optional ingredients - don't use them all!) From what I have been told, paella started as a cheap farmers' dish. Select the daily specials from the market when you make yours. The following is for a small group, it makes 3 generous or 4 regular servings. Double or triple ingredients for a party dish.
- 1 cup1 long grain rice (NOT the Japanese type!)
- 2 cups water or chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- a large pinch of saffron (soaked in 30 ccs (1 ounce) water for 15 to 20 minutes.)
- 1 clove garlic chopped or crushed
- a onion, diced
- olive oil, enough to cover bottom of pan generously
1American conversion: The cups used are the international cups i.e. 200 ml. American cups are 250 ml. So, my fellow Americans, for rice use 4/5 cup and water 1 2/3 cups. You can adjust the grams as follows: 100 grams = 3 to 4 ounces (about 1/4 pound) and 200 grams = 6 - 8 ounces (about 1/2 pound).
Shells (pick one)
- 10 - 12 clams
- 10 - 12 baby clams
- 10 - 12 mussels
Other Seafood (pick two or three)
- 200 grams of white fish
- 1 large or 2 baby squid, cut in pieces
- 200 grams medium shrimp
- 10 - 12 fresh, large shrimp
Meats and Poultries (pick one or two)
- several pieces large chicken cut or 8 - 12 chicken wings or 4 legs
- 100 grams sausage (like pepperoni)
- 100 grams cooked cubed ham
Vegetables (pick at least one red and one green)
- 1/2 large or 1 small green pepper seeded and chopped into big pieces
- 1 red (bell) pepper seeded and chopped into big pieces
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
How to make:
- 1. Scrub and soak the shellfish in cold water, for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain.
- 2. Wash and cut the other ingredients as needed. Note on the seafood. In most of the world use the whole fish, shrimp, etc. Wash before use, but do not cut up. In America, most people seem to like to have everything 'cleaned'. So, for Americans, cut the heads and tails off, debone the fish and devein the shrimp, if you must.
- 3. Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the chicken. Take the chicken out and put it aside.
- 4. Add the onion, garlic, celery (if used) and other meats. Saute until the onion is transparent. Add the rice and saute a little longer.
- 5. Mix in the rest of the vegetables, and smooth out the mixture.
- 6. Over the top, lay the rest of the seafood and chicken. Arrange them in a nice, artistic manner.
- 7. Mix the saffron and salt and pepper with the water / broth. Pour it over the rice mixture.
- 8. Bring to a boil, and continue for 3 to 4 minutes.
- 9. Turn down heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed, the rice is tender and the clams are open. Alternatively, this may be placed in a moderately hot oven for cooking.
- 10. Check occasionally to insure the paella is not sticking. Add a little more HOT water if needed (i.e. water has all been absorbed but the rice is still too dry.)
For a nice drink to go with this, try Sangria.
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