I had eaten paella only twice, last time around Christmas at Janice & Sydney’s house and about 10 years ago on New Year’s Eve at Tad & Karen’s place. Both versions were delicious but different and I’ve been haunted by them every since. I kept thinking about it so I decided to try making it. One reason I waited this long to make it is because I like simple recipes and paella is a lot of different ingredients and steps. We had a Saturday night ahead of us so my husband Jesse and I got started. We made the traditional version with seafood, chicken and pork. It turned out delicious. Rich, smokey and salty. All flavors that I love. We made it with shrimp, clams, sausage and chicken. I can see this easily as a seafood only paella or even a vegetarian version. The chicken and sausage make it very moist and fatty. You’ve got to use Spanish paprika and saffron as both have incredible flavor and color. It took about 2 hours from start to finish so if you have the time I highly recommend this dish. It’s really fun to make and perfect for a dinner party of four. Oh, I don’t own a paella pan so I used my large skillet (pictured).
- 2 chicken legs
- 2 chicken thighs
- 1 pound of clams – we used littleneck
- 6 large shrimp – peeled & deviened
- 1 pound of sausage – we used Andouille
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 can of diced tomatoes
- 1/8 cup of olive oil
- 1 cup of rice
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of fennel
- 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
- a pinch of saffron
Wash and dry the chicken, clean the shrimp & clams and set aside.Saute the chicken in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and paprika. Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Add the sausage to the chicken and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. This is where it gets a bit greasy so I think I will eliminate the chicken and sausage next time for my taste although they do make a very rich & tasty paella. Take the meat out of the skillet and set on a plate. Add the onions and garlic both chopped and minced to the skillet and cook them down a bit and add the tomatoes. Cook on high until you loose some of the water from the tomatoes. Add the rice and about 3 cups of water, salt, pepper & saffron. Simmer all for about 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, clams, chicken & sausage back into the pan and cook all for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. A lot of this timing in the end will depend on what kind of rice that you use. Don’t use a brown rice but instead a basmati or Spanish rice that cooks quickly.