Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend Cook: Paella

Paella with Sausage and Shrimp
What's the difference between Jambalaya and Paella?  Not much, at least the way I make it, since I don't  like celery or bell peppers in jambalaya, and I am completely out of farm-raised chicken.   You'll also notice it's not in a real paella pan, even though I own one - because I would have had to double the recipe to use it.

It all started with sauteing separately: a pound of Andouille, a container of sliced shiitakes, a large minced onion with 6 cloves of garlic.  Added a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan.

I heated a tablespoon of EVOO to toast 2 cups of short-grain "paella" rice (Valencia) for a few minutes, then added: 2 tsp. Sweet Paprika, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, a pinch of saffron, a 10-ounce can of Rotel,  2 cups of chicken stock and 1/4 cup of tomato puree.

I stirred in all the previously sauteed ingredients, then added additional chicken stock until the rice was covered by a generous 1/4 inch.  Brought to a simmer, turned the burner down to low, and covered for 20 minutes.

Ooo-la-la-la-la-la-la! I removed the pan from the stove and stirred in a cup of thawed green peas plus a cup of shrimp cut in half - pushed the shrimp below the rice, and put the cover back on. In 7 - 10 minutes they were fully cooked.  (I don't trust paella recipes that call for frying the shrimp first because they are so easily prepared with passive cooking.)

I adjusted the salt and squeezed 1/2 of a lemon over all.   This recipe can take a lot of variation, but the key to elevating the flavor is the lemon juice.