Mixed Paella

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I’m back with another post from my Spain trip back in November (yes, I know it has been six months…).

I’m going to deviate slightly to talk about olive oil (which will be required in this recipe!). In actuality, Spain is the main producer of olive oil (which I didn’t know), and there were various olive oil stores selling a wide variety of olive oils made of all sorts of olives. Some were lightly flavoured while others were strongly flavoured. Of course, I had to bring some back home with me — it truly is much different than store bought olive oil!

Anyway, you will need olive oil for the dish I learned to make in my Spanish cooking class — paella! Originally, this was a rice dish made with rabbit meat and other vegetables by poor farmers in Valencia. Later, seafood and other sorts of meats were added to create various types of paella. Today’s recipe will be a mixed paella, and it is super delicious! It is made with a short grain rice called Bomba (different from Arborio). With paella, instead of mixing (like in a risotto), you let it cook without stirring. This allows the bottom of the rice to char a little bit or the ‘soccarat’, giving it more depth of flavour. Paella is also versatile, you can make it vegetarian or just seafood, or whatever you have. You’ll enjoy this!

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of chicken leg/thigh (bone-in)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 pound of squid, chopped into strips
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet/mild paprika
  • 1 tomato
  • 150 grams bomba rice
  • 450 mL fish stock (or other stock, but I recommend fish!)
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 4 mussels
  • 4 raw prawns (with shells)
  • salt
  • lemon, for garnishing
  • paella pan or heavy bottom wide pan

——–

Cut the tomato in half and grate it. You’ll be left with the skin, which you can discard, and what you will have is almost like a tomato puree.

Meanwhile, heat the fish stock in a saucepan on low. You want to make sure it is heated well before adding it to the rice, so that it can absorb quicker. Add salt until it is salty like seawater (roughly about 1-2 tbsp, but add it slowly!). Add ground saffron, and cover with lid.

Heat olive oil in paella pan on medium heat. Place chicken and let brown on all sides. It does not have to be completely cooked. Set aside.

Add a little bit more oil, and add the garlic. Let sauté for a minute, and then add the onion, peppers, and 1/4 tsp salt. Let sauté.

Add the chopped squid, followed by the paprika and stir well. Add the chicken back into the pan, followed by the grated tomato. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. When the liquid from the tomato starts drying up, you can add the rice. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the stock to the paella pan, and use a spoon to spread everything evenly. Don’t stir anymore! You want to make sure that the bottom of the rice crisps up, as I mentioned earlier. This should stay at medium heat.

When the liquid is about half gone, lay the mussels and prawns. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes (be sure to keep watching!). If the liquid hasn’t gone by then, increase it to high to evaporate the remaining liquid. Once done, turn off heat, and cover with a clean damp towel, and let stand for 10 minutes, to let the heat steam the mussels and prawns.

Serve the paella straight from the pan, and squeeze lemon when you serve. Enjoy!

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