Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weeknight Paella

I have always been hesitatant to make paella, for several reasons. First and foremost was the fact that I would have to purchase saffron, the most expensive spice in the world! Saffron is the stigma of the flowering crocus. They must be gathered by hand, and each blossom only has 3 stigmas. It takes 225,000 stigmas to make a pound of saffron, so you can see why it costs so much! It gives dishes such as paella that traditional yellow color.

So besides that, I knew that paella also contained a lot of different types of seafood and I thought it took forever to make. That was until we made paella in my cooking class. I was lucky enough to sign up for a five-class series where we learned all sorts of great things, including braising, roasting, sauteeing and many other things, with a chocolate souffle thrown in here and there! Our instructors, Catherine and Mike were very helpful in answering all of our questions! Fortunately, there was room left in their second series of classes so I will be returning!

Catherine wrote all of the recipes that we made, and I took her paella recipe and adapted it so that it was a little easier on the wallet. Most notably, I used yellow rice instead of white rice plus saffron. When I bought the rice I didn't realize that it already has spices in it, but it all worked out in the end. I also only used shrimp and chorizo, even though Catherine recommends everything from scallops to clams to mussels - use anything you like!

This was also SO easy to make - you just toast the rice (a la risotto style), add the broth and proteins, and leave it alone! Chuck loved this and I will definitely be making it again soon!

Weeknight Paella
adapted from Catherine Titus Felix at Classic Thyme
Makes 2 servings

2/3 cups yellow rice (Goya)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 pound chorizo, sliced
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas

Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook until it begins to toast, about 1-2 minutes.

Add shallot and garlic and continue to saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add shrimp, chorizo, and broth. Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 18 minutes.

Remove lid, add parsley and peas and cook until heated through. Continue cooking uncovered until all liquid is absorbed.
No peeking for 18 minutes!


Sara said...

I love paella! It's such a versatile dish. Mark Bittman has a good weeknight paella recipe too, my husband loves it.

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous of your paella!!!

Donna-FFW said...

OOOOHHH AAAAHHH!! Weeknight Paella, how brilliant. PERFECT Choice. LOVE that idea. Do you knw if it holds well for leftover? Id love to make and then have some for my husband for work the next day? Looks terrific!

What's Cookin Chicago said...

Looks delicious and so colorful!

BMK said...

Sounds like a great class. This dish looks fabulous.

priscilla joy said...

This looks so yummy, I'd love some!

Katie said...

I too find myself avoiding Paella, I'll have to give this a try!

Anonymous said...

An easy paella? Wow very impressive, it looks tasty--the ingredients sound so yummy!

Taryn said...

When I went to visit my sister in Spain (she was studying abroad) her host's mom made paella. Oh my goodness- it was gross! She put in crazy seafood (that tasted different from American seafood) and it was super salty. Usually I love authentic food better than the Americanized version- but not in this particular case. I am glad yours was such a hit!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Great job Colleen! I am so proud to be mentioned in your blog.
I love the changes you made to the Paella recipe - it sounds super.
To answer the question if this will re-heat - it will - but the rice will be bit stickier, and you may need to add a touch more salt, but it should be fine.