I can count with one hand the times I’ve lit the charcoal grill by myself. The outdoor kitchen – er, grill and a small adjacent table – are definitely my husband’s realm. It was his idea to buy a paella pan to use outside, and after a practice run (and a bit of coaching from the neighbors last Sunday), the man can make a mean paella. I love his grilling face – he not only looks physically hot and sweaty from working, his brown furrows in concentration, his eyes narrow for a few seconds, but then he breaks into a smile. “Yeah… this looks good”. So do you, babe.
Before his ears turn the color of the tomatoes in the countertop, here’s the recipe for the paella. We adapted this recipe from Food and Wine (Easy Grilled Paella) with bits of knowledge from the paella episode of “From Spain with Love”. If you can, please seek out Valencia style rice. The specialty food stores here charge an arm and a leg for bags of arroz bomba or calaspararra – the best known paella rices – but there is a brand readily available in supermarkets in the US at a reasonable price. In a pinch, you may substitute with arborio rice.
(for a 14″ paella pan; serves 6-8)
- 1 1/2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs
- 2 large chorizo links, sliced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 1/4 cups Valencia rice
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed seafood (we used shrimp, shelled mussels, octopus and squid)
- A fat pinch of saffron threads or 1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron, dissolved in 1/2 cup of water.
- 1/2 clam juice
- 3 1/2 cups seafood broth
Season the chicken with salt and a pepper and sautee on the paella until no longer pink. Set the chicken aside. Add the chorizo, the pureed sofrito, and paprika and cook for about four minutes or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for two more minutes. Add the cooking liquids and bring up to a boil. Add the rice, stirring for a while. Cover with aluminum foil, and allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. Add the seafood and cover again. Allow the paella to finish cooking for 8-12 more minutes, until a crust forms in the bottom of the pan.
- Roasted red pepper slices
- 2/3 cups defrosted sweet peas
- lemon wedges for serving