I wanted to challenge myself this weekend, so I decided to try to make paella. I don’t own a paella pan, and I honestly have no idea how to cook paella, so this should be quite the experience. I used a mixture of a recipe from Tyler Florence and one from Cooking Light, keeping my personal taste in mind.
2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced
1 Spanish onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons parsley (fresh if you have it)
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 cups rice, whatever you have (long, short, doesn’t matter)
2 quarts plus 2 cups water
1/3 cup flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 pounds mussels, debearded and scrubbed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed (optional)
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
Begin by cleaning and de-bearding the mussels. I couldn’t handle doing this, so thankfully my boyfriend was willing to help.
That wiry-looking thing on the right side of the mussel, that’s the beard. To remove, pull towards the hinge part of the mussel and tug.
The beards won’t hurt you if you eat them, but they don’t look particularly appetizing. Scrub the mussels to remove any gook that might be left on them. Discard any mussels that are open or cracked. Do the same with the clams. Put the clams and mussels in a mixture of 2 quarts water and 1/3 cup flour for 20 minutes. This helps to remove any sand that may still be in the mussels and clams.
Add the chicken broth, 2 cups water, 1 cup white wine, clam juice and saffron to a pot over medium heat. Simmer, without boiling, then reduce to low to keep warm.
Heat a tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the cut chorizo in the pan and cook until browned. Remove and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onions, garlic and parsley. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and paprika and cook for 5-10 minutes until fragrant.
Add the rice, stirring to coat the rice.
Pour in the saffron broth, simmering for 10 minutes.
Add chorizo, clams and mussels, tucking the clams and mussels into the rice.
Cook for 15 minutes without stirring, until the rice is fluffy and you can smell the rice at the bottom beginning to toast. (This is known as socarrat… paella is supposed to have a toasted bottom.)
Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes (it will be really, really hot). Serve with lemon wedges and peas if desired. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
I have to give myself a little pat on the back for this one (as well as my boyfriend for his wonderful de-bearding skills). Although I was craving a bit more saffron taste, this dish really turned out well overall. It is quite a bit of work, but it produces a whole lot of food, at least 8 servings. As always, don’t eat any clams or mussels that don’t open. A bunch of my clams didn’t open, kind of a bummer. I also think the next time I make this, I would reserve the liquid from the tomatoes and add that in as well for a little extra flavor.