Paella!

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Paella! Should always be written with an exclamation point at the end. Because it’s exciting! It was certainly the punch in the mouth I needed lately. In a non-violent, non scary way.

I’ve been an extremely grumpybear the past couple weeks. Yes, I said grumpybear (I like to use ‘bear’ as a suffix). I felt like I was making the same kinds of dishes over and over again. So one of my friends suggested that I make Paella! Why Paella?! Because he wanted step-by-step photo instructions on how to make it for himself. And what are friends for if they can’t manipulate each other into getting what they want?

Of course, I’m saying that jokingly. Since I ransacked his apartment and stole all his stuff last month. And I got him to believe I helped him clean out his apartment for him. He even thanked me for taking his possessions off his hands.

*evil laughter*

So we’re even now.

Paella! is so friggin delicious!!! Paella (Pie-Aey-A) is a Spanish dish that has a bunch of meats and/or seafood cooked with rice, and spices. I looked through various websites trying to figure out the best way to cook this without all the extra equipment (paella pan). And after trial and error, I provide for you a foolproof recipe. This recipe requires that you cook some ingredients on the stovetop first, then put all the ingredients into a large, deep baking pan, and bake until the rice absorbs all the flavors of the seafood and meats. And paella! is especially easy to throw together with as many meats and seafood as you like. Just use roughly the same proportions I have, and the rice will bake up nice and fluffy in the oven. If you like chicken, substitute cooked and cubed chicken for the chorizo I’ve used, or split it. If you like fresh mussels, substitute that for the canned baby clams I’ve used. And so on. You really can’t go wrong.

The most time consuming part of this recipe is cutting up the ingredients. Other than that, putting it together is fairly easy.

A few must have spices for this dish include: Paprika, Rosemary, Thyme, Cumin and Saffron. That is what will bring out the flavors for paella.

Paella!

printable recipe

Serves: 6 to 8 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 chorizo sausages
  • 10 shrimp
  • 10 oz. clams
  • 6 oz. tilapia
  • 1/2 cup mild olive oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron
  • 4 Tbsp. capers (optional)
  • 24 oz. rice, uncooked
  • 48 fl. oz. chicken broth
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Equipment: skillet and deep baking dish (roughly 15.5” x 11.5” x 2.5”)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop peppers, onion, and tomato into small pieces. Mince garlic. Set in bowl all together. Slice chorizo into small pieces, set aside in bowl. Cut tilapia into small chunks, same size as chorizo. Set aside in bowl. To that bowl, add deveined and shelled shrimp, and clams.

2) Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, peppers and tomatoes. Cook until onion is translucent. Set aside in bowl.

3) Heat another 1/4 cup oil in the skillet on medium high heat. Toast rice in skillet until translucent. Put rice in baking dish, add broth, paprika, rosemary, thyme, cumin, saffron and capers. Add vegetables, seafood and meat. Mix so everything is covered with broth and spices are equally distributed around pan.

4) Bake at 450 degrees, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Check towards the end of the baking time to see if all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked thoroughly (oven times and temperatures vary). Serve with lemon wedges, salt and pepper to taste.

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Like I said, cutting up the ingredients is the most time consuming part of the process. At least for me it is. Unless you have mad chopping skills.

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It was probably slow going for me since I was drinking wine and watching TV as I was cutting up peppers. It probably affected my concentration and I could’ve chopped a finger or two off. But it’d probably just end up looking like chorizo afterwards.

Wait, did I just say that?! No…no I didn’t.

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Cutting the vegetables and fingers into the same sizes will guarantee they cook equally at the same time. Did I say fingers? I meant fingers.

I’m just kidding. I didn’t cut any fingers up.

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The fresh clams at the store were offered at $6 per 2 dozen. I am cheap, so I bought a 10 oz. can of baby clams for $1.89.

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Here are some chicken fingers I mean sausages.

I was a little irked that our fancy supermarket didn’t carry standard Chorizo sausages anymore. They offer Chicken Chorizo (not as much Uumph as normal Chorizo), it was either that or gourmet Chorizo for $10 a package!!! I can’t afford $10 sausages. That costs as much as an arm and a leg and a finger!

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Chop chorizo as shown above.

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A small bottle of saffron costs between $4-$16. I don’t understand the price range, nor do I ever use saffron in my cooking. But almost all the paella recipes I’ve seen used saffron, so I figured it was necessary. It’s a good spice staple to have in your pantry. I’ll probably use it in other dishes later on.

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Cook the veggies in oil until the onions are translucent. Set aside in bowl. Then toast the rice in oil until translucent.

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Put rice in baking dish, add broth, paprika, rosemary, thyme, cumin, saffron and capers. Add vegetables, seafood and meat. Mix so everything is covered with broth and spices are equally distributed around pan.

*Capers are typically sold in glass jars, by the jarred stuff (pickles, olives, peppers). Good to know, if you’ve never used or seen them before.

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Bake at 450 degrees, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Check towards the end of the baking time to see if all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked thoroughly (oven times and temperatures vary).

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This dish came out beautifully. The rice cooked up fluffy and absorbed all the delicious flavors of the peppers, seafood and chorizo. We couldn’t stop eating it after we were stuffed. It’s an undo your belt buckle kind of meal. Or a sweatpants with elastic band-wearing kind of meal.

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Salt and pepper to your taste. I do this at the end because I never know how salty or peppery each person wants their dish.

If you like your dish a little spicy, add a spicy hot sauce you prefer. A couple drops of this Chile Habanero we got from Mexico burns my mouth into the fiery depths of the underworld.

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Serve with lemon wedges.

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And enjoy!

13 Thoughts on “Paella!

  1. Thank You! It looks great. I can’t wait to try this out and when i do… i will let you know if i was able to duplicate the magic.

  2. April in CT on September 23, 2009 at 5:34 pm said:

    Ohhhhh, man this looks GOOD! Those skrimps are speaking to me. Glad to see no fingers were harmed during the creating of this post.

  3. You’re welcome Socki! Anything to get on your good side…

    April – Add more shrimps if you please. I prefer shrimps more than anything, and I might change the proportions next time for my own personal benefit…

  4. You’re back! Good to see you posting again…
    I make paella in a completely different way, still without using a paella pan (unless I borrow it from my dad). I just use my large wok and cook Uncle Ben’s rice as if I was making risotto, slowly adding ladles of broth and letting the rice soak it up! Beautiful pictures as usual, by the way!

  5. I love paella. It’s always so yummy.

  6. In Spanish, you use both the inverted and upright exclamation marks. So, you could make the dish seem even more exciting with both marks :). That habañero seasoning looks interesting. Your paella looks great!

  7. Wow, that really looks amazing. I can’t belive Paella can be that simple. I’ve never made it myself but that I know how easy it can be I’ll have to make it very soon. Thanks Candy!

  8. wow!! i love the mixed beautiful colors!! :) i shud try this some time sooner! beautiful pics as usual candy

  9. Wow, that looks amazing! I’m going to see if I can recreate it for my office potluck next month! I’m sure it’ll be a hit!

  10. Sorry about the lack of replies to your comments! I commented but my site was all wacky the past week. It wouldn’t let me comment. So here goes again:

    Chiara – Thanks for the tip with the wok! I know a couple of readers are are going to try that method.

    Hummingbird – Thank you :)

    Memoria – Thanks for the tip with the exclamation points. I will use them next time for another Spanish dish!

    Carly – Lemme know how it goes! :)

    Nora – Thank you!

    Cedes – Ooooh it is a great potluck dish. Your coworkers would absolutely love it.

  11. Nice try, looks good…but it’s not really paella. It’s more like dry Jambalaya…real paella? http://www.espanolsinfronteras.com/im%C3%A1genes/CULE/Cultura%20Espa%C3%B1ola%20-%20Gastronom%C3%ADa%20-%20Paella%20Marinera.jpg

  12. Jay – I actually found that recipe off a Spanish website. Authentic or not, I made do what the ingredients I had and was pretty happy with it. Thanks for the picture anyway.

  13. Love it! Never had paella but really want to try it. I’ve been searching for recipes and I think yours is the one!
    Thanks!

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