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Monday, July 16, 2012

Paella! Pah-ye-ya!

Oh hiiiii! Nice to see you again, I was just sitting here drooling whilst I reminisced over how delicious this paella was. What's that? You want me to share my recipe with you?! Well, alright, twist my arm...

I dreamed up this paella for my mother's recent visit, she only had a few days and wanted to see everyone she could while she was in town. It went without question that she would want some friends over to visit, I had to come up with something not too difficult that I could feed a bunch of people with. Paella seemed a clear choice. It's great for summer and I love anything that I can serve family style. 
 Lucky for me I also really enjoy entertaining and her friend's company! She's kept good friends for most of her life so they've watched me grow up, almost like aunties.

Ok, so quit yapping and get to the paella making right? Right. 

Chicken, Chorizo & Shrimp Paella: (enough for a small army of say 6-8 people)

4 Tbsp. olive oil

6 oz. chorizo sausage
3 small chicken breasts

1 onion, chopped (see onion chopping tutorial below)
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, chopped

3/4 c. Crispin Brut Cider
3 1/2-5c. chicken stock
12 oz. Arborio rice
1 1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp. turmeric
small pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp. spanish smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 c. thawed frozen green peas
12 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
Lemon wedges

1) Ok, I know you're looking at that thinking it's complicated but it's really easy if you do your
    prep work right. So there's about 4 steps to great paella, just have everything ready to toss in
    and it's as easy as stirring for awhile.
2) In a 16" paella pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken on all sides, 3-5 min.
    Add in the chorizo and cook another couple minutes. [If you don't have a paella pan that big,
    just cook the chicken & chorizo until it is done and set aside to mix in later.] Add in the onions,
    scallions, garlic and pepper and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes.
3) Add in the rice and toast 2-3 minutes before adding in 3 1/2 c. stock, the cider, hot sauce, and
    all herbs and spices (thyme, bay, turmeric, etc.) Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer 15
    minutes, stirring occasionally.  
4) Continue to check the doneness of the rice every 5 minutes thereafter, adding stock if it seems
    to be getting too dry before the rice is done. Also a good time to adjust spice levels and salt to your
    taste. (I used all my stock and added a little more cider too-for good measure of course!)
5) When the rice seems to be just about done, toss in your shrimp and peas. Add a little lemon if you
     please, and cook until the rice and the shrimp are done. (If you are using two pans you could go
     ahead and cook the shrimp up with the meats to get them hot again and stir them in before
6) Garnish with some parsley and serve with extra lemon wedges on the side.
When I first learned how to properly cut an onion it changed my life. I used to sit there hacking away at it like a maniac until I could  finally coerce it into haphazard pieces with a face full of tears. Don't be afraid. The onion is your friend. As long as you get it out of your face quickly and don't breath...
1) Cut your onion in half lengthwise.
2) Leaving the root nub intact, carefully cut down the length of the onion, making sure to leave it partially intact by the root.
3) Holding onto the nub end, make your next cuts horizontally until you reach the end. Now you're a pro, easy right? 

"The Claw"-safe chopping habits people! 

I'll miss this dining room so much! We're moving on up-no more renting for this missy, I'll soon be a proud homeowner! 
This was good eating! All the guests said it was great, I chose to believe them. I know this might seem a little intimidating, but as long as you set yourself up well by prepping your ingredients I swear it's really a simple dish. Feel free to get ahold of me if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!
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