Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It has been a long time since I last made paella! Honestly, living in Chicago, I never thought we'd make it again. This isn't exactly the seafood capitol of the world, and I am lacking a paella pan (we used my friend's last time). So when the roommate suggested it, I was... well, I was asleep. Solidly napping. I didn't even click the link in his text, I just send back the letter K and possibly a "stop texting me I'm napping." Hey, we had a busy morning eating endlessly and playing Bocce to celebrate the Monkey Scientist's parents' anniversary! The Monkey Scientist and I deserved a nap!
Anyways when I finally re-entered the world and looked at my phone, I figured out we were having paella and I was actually really excited. Nervous about how to make it without a paella pan, but excited. As it turns out, you can TOTALLY make paella in the cast iron skillet. So even though I'd totally gorged myself on the all you can eat buffet that morning, I was ready for a big paella dinner.
I should start by saying, this recipe is totally different than my other paella recipe. If you live by the water and have access to great seafood, I'd probably tell you to stick with that one. It's just so loaded with goodies. But for paella in the Midwest, aside from just making a meat-based paella with chorizo, this one is pretty awesome. The flavors are great. The rice cooks perfectly. And the shrimp are briny and perfect. Plus artichokes? You can never go wrong with artichokes. I just might fall asleep and let someone pick my dinner more often!
from What's Cooking America?
1 to 1 1/2 pounds raw extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (save the shells!)
Ground sea salt
2 1/4 cups bottled clam juice or fish stock
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup uncooked Spanish or Arborio Rice
2 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle the shrimp with ground sea salt.
3. In a large saucepan over medium-heat heat, heat the clam juice or fish broth, wine, and saffron; reduce heat to low and keep broth hot (not boiling. (I love making my own fish broth, but we didn't have the time so we used bottled clam juice. However, since we didn't have enough, we also boiled the shrimp shells in some water to make extra broth. Like I did here. Easy a pie.)
4. In a large Paella Pan or heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and red bell pepper. Stir to mix and cook 3 minutes or until slightly softened.
5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in garlic and rice and continue stirring until garlic is fragrant and the rice is evenly coated with oil, about 1 minute.
6. Stir in tomatoes, paprika, and salt. Toss 30 seconds or so.
7. Stir in hot clam/saffron broth mixture. Return to heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer (stirring and rotating the pan occasionally) 10 to 15 minutes or until rice is no longer soupy but sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice in the oven.
8. Stir in shrimp and artichokes hearts.
9. Transfer paella pan/cast-iron skillet to the oven and cook, uncovered, about 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is almost al dente and until almost all liquid is absorbed. (NOTE: Never cook paella until the rice is completely done. If you do, it will be mushy by the time it reaches the table. Remove from the oven when the rice grains are no longer hard but still have more bite than you want and a crust forms around the edge of the pan.)
10. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit 5 to 10 minutes or until the rice is cooked to taste. Paella must rest after being removed from the oven, during which time the final cooking takes place.
11. To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and arrange lemon wedges around the top of the paella. Serve immediately. To eat, squeeze lemon juice over paella.
Makes 4 servings.