Sunday, August 26, 2012

Paella Valenciana

After several months of not updating Good Sazon, I am back! Dear readers, I apologize for being such a bad blogger. All I can tell you is that the past four months have been really hectic - I got a new job that I love but is very demanding, I traveled overseas and also had  several family commitments.  But the fact that I was not posting new recipes does not mean I have not been cooking... read on.

There are several dishes that should only be eaten at restaurants for two reasons (1) they are a pain in the butt to make and (2) no matter how hard you try, the dish just doesn't taste the same. I would definitely put paella in that category. 

I love paella and wanted to make it the right way so the first step was to find a paella pan. You would think that would be easy, right? Well, if you live in Central Pennsylvania, it is not an easy feat. The only specialty store that did sell paella pans had run out of them. So I had to order one from Amazon. A week later, I got my paella pan and it had a huge sticker form the manufacturer at the bottom of it. It took my about 45 minutes to get it off.  I should have taken that as a sign and ended my desire of making the famous Spanish dish. But I didn't see it a sign. Instead, I became more stubborn and decided to make it that weekend.

That Saturday was about 90 degrees and very humid but that did not deter me. I went to the store and got all my ingredients, sans mussels (another sign!) because they had run out of them. Back at home, I decided to make the paella on the grill because for some reason I thought that was how it should be done. We had to carry all of the ingredients to the patio. In the process, my mom dropped some of the vegetables on the ground (another sign). Once I had all the ingredients ready, I turned on the grill and started cooking. Bad decision. The heat from the grill was almost unbearable and I was sweating like a pig. I think my family was chuckling. At some point I noticed that the flame went out... we ran out of gas. So, we had to go back to the kitchen and yes, carry all the ingredients and pans inside. Fortunately, we didn't drop anything this time. Once in the kitchen, I continued cooking and adding the ingredients. At some point I noticed that the rice had absorbed all the water but it was still very hard. So I kept adding water and well, to be honest, I added too much water because it ended up all mushy. After maybe an hour, the paella was ready. 

I wish I could tell you that, after all I went through, it was the best paella I have ever had. It was not. It was good but nothing out of the ordinary... and it was mushy! So the next time I'm craving paella, I'll go to a restaurant. 

And by the way, the paella pan was a fraud. The rice at the bottom of it stuck to it so I had to let it soak in water overnight. The next morning, I realized it had oxidized so badly that I had to return it.

So, if you are brave, here is the recipe. As I said before, it's a good recipe and the results will be fine but it is a pain in the butt. You've been warned.




Paella Valenciana

Ingredients:
6 tbs white wine
1 lb. mussels (I used clams instead)
1 cup green beans, cut into small pieces)
1 chicken breast (cut in cubes)
5 oz. pork fillet, cubed
12 shrimps
2 onions chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped.
1 red bell pepper
2 ripe tomatoes
4 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
3 3/4 cups chicken stock (you are going to need more)
Pinch of saffron threads soaked in 2 tbs, hot water
1 3/4 white rice
8 oz. Spanish chorizo (sliced)
1 cup peas
Sal, pepper and paprika.




Directions:
1. Heat the wine and add the mussels. Cover and steam until opened. Reserve the liquid and mussels, discarding any that do not open. 

2. Heat 4 tbs. of olive oil in  a large paella pan, season the chicken and pork with salt and paprika until browned. Put them on a plate. Fry the shrimp briefly in the same and put them away on another plate.

3. Add more oil to the pan and fry the onions and garlic until golden-brown. Add the red pepper and cook for two minutes, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, green beans, chorizo and parsley. 

4. Add the chicken stock, the mussel liquid and the saffron liquid into the vegetables. Season well with salt and pepper and when then the liquid starts to bubble add the rice. Add the rest of the ingredients (chicken, pork, mussels, shrimp).

5. Cook for about 18 minutes until the rice is cooked. Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.  



3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience and frustrations, too :) We understand that cooking paella is an absolute art and hope you will not give up! Practice, practice! (And perhaps in cooler weather ;) If you are ever ready to try again - please visit us at www.latienda.com - we'd love to welcome you!

    Best regards,

    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laurie.,

      The next time we are in Virginia, we will definitely visit la tienda.

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