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I don’t know of any dish more representative of Spanish cuisine than Paella.
WHAT IS PAELLA you ask?
It’s a rice dish that originated in Valencia, Spain. It is made with Spanish rice, veggies and protein all cooked with seafood or chicken broth, inside a shallow dish and seasoned with saffron, bay leaf, salt and pepper. The veggies and protein of choice are cooked with the rice, so all the flavors blend together beautifully. Saffron gives Paella its characteristic yellow color and a special flavor and aroma.
This seafood Paella recipe is an easy version and can be made in a large skillet. To make Paella you need a special type of rice that looks a lot like Arborio rice (the one used to make risotto), but if you can’t find it, you can use regular rice. It will just not be as authentic, but I assure you it will taste amazing. It is hard to get all authentic ingredients, so use what you can and it’ll be great.
INGREDIENTS IN SPANISH SEAFOOD PAELLA
- Every household in Spain has its own recipe, and every region as well. This is a simple recipe you can make at home.
- Rice: Look for Spanish rice in your local grocery store, but be careful because some boxes labeled “Spanish rice” may contain pasta as well. Medium grain rice can be used, or regular rice if you can’t find it. If you use medium grain rice, reduce the amount of liquid by ½ cup.
- White wine: I use a dry white wine like Pinot Grigio.
- Veggies: Like I said, every Spanish household has its own recipe, but we will be using onion, garlic, morron peppers (you can use red bell pepper if you can’t find bottled morron peppers), and peas (I used frozen). I also love to add sliced green Spanish olives.
- Protein: We will make seafood paella, but also use chicken. I like boneless, skinless chicken breast, but you can use thighs as well. For the seafood part I added shrimp (tail on peeled and deveined shrimp), calamari (you can use rings or sliced filets) and mussels (in the shell).
- Herbs and spices: Chopped fresh parsley, paprika, and saffron. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice pound for pound. It is the stigma of the Crocus flower that has been dried, so it comes in “threads”. A little goes a long way, and although it is expensive, it is sold in very little quantities, so you won’t break the bank by buying it.
- Olive oil: It is made using Spanish Olive oil of course, but you can use the one you have on hand.
- Chicken stock: The original Paella recipe uses homemade seafood stock, which is made by boiling shrimp shells and fish heads. In some countries, seafood stock is sold in stores, but we will use chicken stock for convenience.
HOW TO MAKE SEAFOOD PAELLA
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the peppers, onion and garlic until translucent.
2. Pour in the white wine and reduce until half.
3. Add the diced chicken, rice, saffron, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley and cook for about one minute.
4. Slowly pour in the chicken broth, adding it along the edge of the pan. Shake the skillet to make an even layer of rice and chicken. Do not stir. Let it come to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook it uncovered for 15 mins.
5. Place the seafood on top and sprinkle the peas evenly. Place the lid on and cook for another 5-8 minutes or until all the seafood is cooked through. If you feel the rice or thee seafood is not fully cooked, give it a few more minutes. Don’t worry if a crust forms at the bottom of the pan, this is a good thing.
6. Remove from heat and let the paella rest, covered, for 10 more minutes. Serve with freshly chopped parsley on top and lemon wedges.
TYPES OF PAELLA
Although this Paella recipe may not be the most authentic one, it will turn out delicious, I guarantee it.
- Paella Valenciana.This is considered to be the “authentic original paella” and is made by making a “sofrito” with tomato, morron peppers, onion and garlic. Rabbit meat is the protein of choice for this paella and artichoke hearts can be added.
- Meat paella. It has chicken as the protein of choice along with chorizo and sometimes rabbit,and has pimenton dulce (very similar to paprika) and a good amount of black pepper. Pimiento morron, which is a type of red bell pepper, is used as well as peas.
- Seafood paella. Or “paella marinera” made using shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari.Seafood or fish stock is used to make it. Onion, garlic, piquillo peppers and peas are added too.
- Mixed paella has seafood as well as chicken and sometimes chorizo.The veggies used are the same as in seafood paella.
- Black paella uses squid or octopus ink to give it its color.The protein of choice is squid, octopus and sometimes other seafood. The aromatics are the same as the ones used in seafood paella.
- Vegetarian paella.Green beans, mushrooms, asparagus and green olives as well as peas are the veggies of choice and you can use vegetable stock to make it.
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1- 4 oz jar morron peppers ( or 1 chopped red bell pepper)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- ¼ cup sliced green olives
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup dry wine wine such as Pinot Grigio
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups Spanish rice (or medium grain rice)
- 5 cups chicken stock (3 ½ if using medium grain rice)
- ⅓ cup peas, frozen
- 12 peeled, deveined, tail on shrimp
- ½ lb calamari rings
- ½ lb mussels, clean, shell on
- Lemon wedges
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion, garlic and morron bell pepper until the onion is translucent. Add the saffron, paprika, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
- Add the diced chicken and rice and cook for one more minute.
- Pour in the chicken stock and cook for about 15 mins, uncovered over medium heat. Shake the skillet every once in a while to move the rice around a bit. Do not stir.
- Place the seafood on top of the par cooked rice and sprinkle the peas evenly on top. Place the lid on and cook for an additional 10 mins or until the rice and seafood are fully cooked. Serve with freshly chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 533Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 936mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 35g