There are those dishes in the world of food that even the most amateur of cooks needs to attempt at least once. In my humble opinion Paella is one of them. So it came to pass that I spent this past Sunday afternoon creating a simple version of this culinary staple.
Paella is a classic dish from the Spanish region of Valencia. The traditional version (as I understand it) is a hearty mix of short-grained rice, chicken, rabbit, snails, beans, tomatoes, rosemary, paprika, saffron, salt and olive oil. There are many different versions of Paella, including the popular seafood Paella, and the nature of the dish allows for a fair amount of improvisation.
Rather than diving right in to the traditional version, which is a tad intimidating and time-consuming, I opted for a fairly simple rendition that I found on the Food Network’s website.
Although culinary purists may snub their nose at this bastardized format, it was extremely simple and the final product was exactly what I was craving! The perfect fix for a brisk fall evening and leftovers to last me the rest of the week. What more could you ask for?
I paired this with the 2010 Telmo Rodriguez “Basa” Verdejo (check out my review here), a crisp white wine from northern Spain. If you’re looking for a red option, why not stick with the theme and try a Rioja Crianza. If suds are more your style pick up a 6-pack of Alhambra, one of my favourite Spanish beers!
Here is the recipe that I followed:
- 2 chicken breasts, skin removed and cut into large chunks
- 2 Italian sausages, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 10 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 28 ounces can whole tomatoes
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup of your favourite red or white wine
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped
- 1 pound of shrimp, shelled and deveined
- Heat a large flat sauté pan or traditional paella pan. Add a splash of oil and begin to brown the chicken and sausages. Once they have browned set them aside on a plate.
- Add the onions to the hot pan and a small splash of oil, sauté until golden.
- Add the garlic and stir for a few moments.
- Add tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.
- Add rice, stock, wine, bay leaves, rosemary, red pepper, the reserved meat and the shrimp.
- Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat until the liquid has absorbed and the rice is tender, about thirty minutes.
Read the full recipe on the Food Network’s website here.