Oh Paella, such a simple and delicious dish. I think Spanish food is often overlooked for more popular cuisines like French and Italian but you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t explore Spanish food. Before we started cooking we popped open a bottle of Cava and dug into some Serrano ham, Cabrales, and Manchego.
You’ll notice that the Serrano ham has a deep ruby colour compared to a prosciutto and is much more intense, almost earthy in flavour versus the more delicate prosciutto. Cabrales (the blue cheese) is made from raw cow’s milk, goat milk, and ewe’s milk. This particular cabrales had a pleasant blue cheese tang near the middle of the cheese and as you got closer to the rind it smelled (and tasted) strongly of gym socks…yum! Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese and is one of my all time faves, a firm cheese that was not too salty and deliciously smooth.
Once everybody had their fill we began the mise-en-place:
The rice we used is an authentic Valencia rice named Bomba which is not as starchy as Arborio rice (used in risottos). From what I’ve researched a paella should not be creamy like a risotto so if your goal is to make a paella with the proper texture stick to a Valencia rice.
We diced and chopped the veg, cut up the sausage, cleaned the shell fish, heated the stock with saffron, and turned the burner on high starting with the chicken, then the sausage, followed by the onions, garlic, and rice.
After sauteing the rice for a couple of minutes we assemble the dish with chicken, sausage, and stock to let simmer for 10min then add the shellfish:
Once all the shellfish has been added top with peas and red peppers then finish in the oven until all the liquid has evaporated:
And the finished dish…
F**k yeah! It tasted as awesome as it looks!!!
Some takeaways from the meal:
1) Watch the ratio of liquid to rice, the goal is to keep the rice al dente and not mushy.
2) You can’t have too much sausage.
3) We had a 15″ pan which didn’t fit so well on a 9″ burner, ideally you’d do this over an open fire so there aren’t any hotspots for more even cooking.
So that was paella, stay tuned for the next cookoff!