Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Paella Mixta (Mixed) Spanish Homestyle

One very pregnant day, I had a craving for PAELLLA. I searched high and low for a place and found http://www.olespaindelishop.com a few minutes from my home. I fell in love. But they only made Paella Tuesdays and Fridays. What was a pregnant wife to do?

So somehow I was able to convince my loving husband to take me to BARCELONA.

While there I had really good paella and some no so great paella.  My absolute favorite was a place the locals go to get their paella fix called LA FONDA.

Just hearing the name makes my mouth water.

look at that pregnant lady ready to devour that paella.

I had to have paella at my beckoned call, so hubby and I took a Spanish cooking class while in Spain and learned how to make a home style paella mixta. They used local ingredients not readily available in California but I tried to stay authentic as possible and gave approximate measurements.  

Let's talk about the pan first. You will need a paella pan to cook this. Mine is 13 inches in diameter (from one end to the other). You can use a deeper skillet if you really can't find one. But you can Amazon one or even get one at World Market or even TJ Maxx. The recipe I have is for a 13 inch pan or service for 4. Please adjust accordingly. I learned that you don't want to cook all the rice you can, you need the rice to just cover the pan, this is not a rice cooker, you will need less rice than more. 

Paella takes a long time to cook and can be very time consuming. But you can break it down into quicker preparation times since the Sofrito, the paella sauce can be made ahead. We are starting a little backwards usually you cook the meat first but I want to start with the sofrito so that we have the option of storing and making ahead. Start with onions, garlic, and bell peppers cooking in olive oil.

Directly grate your tomatoes into that pot and add the diced squid because squid is tough if not cooked a long time.
 I found my squid packaged at 99 Ranch and used 1/2 the package.
 It will cook for about 30 minutes. Medium heat. Clean up while you wait.
 If you cook it in a mount, it will not burn. Do not let it burn. If the heat is too high, lower it.
 Remove the sofrito from the pan and freeze for future use. I like to double the recipe and freeze 1/2 for future use.

Take the chicken and the chorizo and stir fry in more olive oil. Season with kosher salt and Spanish paprika.

I use Cantimpalitos because I like the smaller size over the chorizo bilbao. I found this at http://www.laespanolameats.com for those in Los Angeles or http://www.olespaindelishop.com for those of you in Orange County. 
 Remove just the chicken when it cooks all the way through and reserve.
 Pork needs to cook well and I like the chorizo to be super cooked and slightly blackend. So I leave it in the pan and cook the shrimp with it. Shrimp cooks very quickly. Two or three minutes each side. It turns pink when cooked. Once cooked, remove and save for later.
The secret to paella is layering of flavors. DO NOT discard any of the oil that the meat and shrimp is cooked in.
This is usually the part where people start their sofrito but since ours is already done, just add it to the pan grease with 2 cups of bomba or valencia rice. Saute the rice for approximately 3 minutes so that it can soak up all the flavor left in the pan as well as the sofrito and chorizo grease.

Paella rice is different from Asian white rice because it is a special rice that really takes in flavor. Bomba rice is the authentic rice used in paella in Spain but Valencia rice will do the job as well, it just needs more liquid to cook and is about 1/2 the price. I found my rice at the two Spanish stores mentioned above.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the rice and saffron powder. Note that for a truly authentic flavor, I suggest using home made broth with no carrots. Carrots are used in canned and traditional stock but adds a sweetness to your paella that is not authentic but tasty. Spaniards do not add carrots to their chicken stock

Saffron will give your paella that nice yellow color but is not necessary. I use a saffron powder and throw it in with the chicken stock. Since saffron is an expensive ingredient most home cooked traditional Spanish paella stays brown in color and omits saffron all together. Spanish restaurants however, do use it for the color.

Simmer the paella on low medium heat. Watch for burning. I do not include muscles and clams but now would be the time to include those in the mix. Remember the center of the rice will cook first. You will need to watch it the first time you cook it by gently lifting the rice in the middle. The edges cook last. If you find that the middle is cooking too fast, lower the heat. Again this is trial and error and you will figure this out depending on your stove. But be very careful not to burn the rice. The burned rice will give a burned flavor to the entire dish, remember, the Spanish rice takes in flavor.

 Once the rice is cooked add frozen peas and start arranging chicken and shrimp around the pan.

Remove from heat and cover the pan with foil for 15-20 minutes and ENJOY.

Recipe is for 13 inch Paella pan (Serves approximately 4 people)
For the Sofrito:
1 Cup finely chopped green and red bell peppers
1 small/ medium Onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 Grated Roma tomatoes
Squid 1/2 package or 1/4 lb
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1/2 lb or 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken thighs chopped into two inch pieces
1/2 lb  unpeeled large Shrimp
1/3 lb Cantimpalitos (Spanish style cocktail sausage) or Chorizo Bilbao

2 cups Valencia Rice/Bomba rice
4 cups or 2.5 cans of chicken stock/broth

saffron powder (optional)
Clams and muscles (optional)
frozen Peas

13 inch Paella Pan


Cook the shrimp in your paella pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. lightly salt Remove shrimp and set aside. DO NOT DISCARD oil.
Add more oil and cook the chicken lightly salt and paprika. Set aside.

saute and cook the bell peppers and onion for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat to allow browning. Grate the 2 tomatoes directly in the pan. Add your chopped squid and cook in a mount for 20-30 minutes more.

Add rice, stir and fry about 3 minutes, and add the chicken stock. Add the saffron powder

Do not move the paella. Add the muscles and clams while the rice is 1/2 cooked. Once the rice on the edges are cooked the dish is done. If the rice is still under cooked and broth has evaporated, add water or broth.

Turn off heat, cover the pan and let stand 15-20 minutes.

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