Paella –American Version by Connie Fairbanks
2- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Spanish Chorizo – cut into thin slices
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sliced into thirds and marinated with Spice Mix
1 medium yellow onion – diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 (15ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, and extra sprigs for garnish at the end
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups short grain Spanish rice
3 cups warm fish stock (from shellfish)
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2 ounce jar of chopped pimiento
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
½ pound squid tubes
¼ cup crab meat, chopped
1 dozen jumbo shrimp, deveined (save the shells for stock)
½ cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
1. Pat Spice Mix over chicken thighs, and marinate in the refrigerator.
2. De-vein shrimp and remove most of the shells. Refrigerate. Save the shells for a stock. (make a quick fish stock with the leftover shells, ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning,3 ½ cups of water, 3 peppercorns, a bay leaf, slice of lemon,1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a sprig of flat leaf parsley. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, and strain.) Save to use in the paella. Set aside, and keep warm.
3. Over medium heat, heat a paella pan, add olive oil. Brown chorizo on both sides, and remove from the pan. Set aside. Brown chicken thighs on both sides, remove from pan, and set aside.
4. In the same pan, brown onions and garlic until soft.
5. De-glaze the pan with the sherry. Simmer until the sherry evaporates.
6. Add the tomatoes, chopped parsley, and smoked paprika. Heat until it begins to reduce and caramelize.
7. Add the rice and coat all of the grains. Add the stock, cover, and cook for about 8 minutes.
8. Sprinkle the chorizo, chicken thighs, saffron, chopped pimiento, chopped crab meat, squid, and shrimp over the rice. Tuck the mussels and clams into the rice. Sprinkle the peas on top. Don’t stir it. Place the lid on the pan, and cook over medium heat for another 6 – 8 minutes. The clams and mussels should all open, and you should smell it. Hopefully a crust (socarrat) will have formed on the bottom of the pan.
9. Remove paella from the stove, sprinkle with parsley, and squeeze some lemon juice over the paella. Toss in lemon wedges, and serve in the paella pan.
Yield: Serves 4 – 6 as a main course.
Connie’s Tips: If you can find Spanish rice, it is the best for this recipe. If not, use a medium grained rice. Spanish chorizo and smoked paprika are readily available in gourmet food stores or online. They both are very important for this recipe. Saffron is expensive so a little goes a long way. Use whatever shellfish you like. Use small clams so they open in the same length of time as the mussels. I didn’t add extra salt because of the salt in the spice mix and the fish stock.
DO AHEAD: Go through Step 6.
Spice Mix for Chicken Thighs:
1 tablespoon smoked paprika or Pimeton
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix together in a small bowl. Coat chicken thighs, cover, and store (covered) in the refrigerator for 3 -4 hours.