Thursday, April 22, 2010

Paella Party

so i made a paella last night. one of the most delicious things that i know how to do with rice, not to mention it feeds a huge amount of people. for me one of the massive appeals of paella is not just that i get to imagine that i am a spanish senoria but that i get to wield this massive steel paella pan and feel totally authentic and cool. this is important, as my extremely high ego must be constantly given positive re-enforcement - even if it is my its self- which probably explains this highly self absorbed blog that no one has probably read...
anyway paella is dead easy. so here is a how to guide for all those people that i like to pretend in my head read this and then actually attempt to make my suggested food.
- get yourself a nice big cast iron pan or just a really heavy fry-pan and heat it up with a little olive oil (which will eventually kill all your non- stick pans but really who is not going to use good olive oil for the sake of a fry pan, you control it- the pan does not control you!) - when is is hot enough that the oil kind of moves toward the centre and you can see little lines or ripples in it- but not smoking that is too hot!!! and the olive oil is dying!!!- put some whole chorizo sausages in about 4. these should be the good pork and spicy kind that you find at the butcher not the coles fake chorizo style sausage variety. and cook them until it is all firmed up and cooked on the outside, then take them out and rest them. now, your pan will be all lovely and chorizo flavoured. Add your chicken (organic free range chicken thighs sliced into 3) to the pan and cook till browned but not over cooked, go on and take those out and let them keep the chorizo company. Now scrape any chickeny bits up and add a little more oil if you need and then add some onions (diced) garlic (crushed with your knife and then chopped) and capsicum (julienned/matchsticks)- cook till soft then chuck the chicken and chorizo sausages (which by now you have sliced thinly into little tasty spicy disks) and keep on going as the sausage crisps up and all the flavours meld then some diced tomatoes (not tinned)- if you want you can put in some sliced mushrooms and/or beans. then add your rice (alborio). now i work on a 1 part rice and 2 parts chicken stock ratio. to the pan and rizzo up- cook till all nice and coated with everything else in your pan and all the tomato juiced ate soaked up.

now is time for the stock, don't worry this the main bit is done. this stock can be done ages before even a day of three as long as it is refrigerated and sealed- blah blah blah- none of you have killed yourself with food poisoning yet or you wouldn't be able to read this so i am not going to bother with food safety lessons that you already know or at least your sub-concious common sense knows. pour some really good chicken stock (best home made- will one day do a post on stocks) but a good bought one is okay as long as it isn't like 20% salt and other crap. now with is stock that you have lovingly driven to the shops and got you need to add some little bits of magic. grab yourself some saffron threads (i know they are expensive but they are totally worth it), some peri peri, some paprika and some cayenne pepper. grind them up all together with a tiny bit of salt to get it going and then add it to your stock. let this beautiful elixir simmer away for about 20 minutes then put the lid on and let it cool on its own.

so your rice has started cooking in the tomato juice and looking thirsty- ladle your stock all over the pan and hopefully it will start simmering, let it- but stop it boiling. after about 3 minutes you will start to see the rice again, this is where you put in the seafood part of the paella- the prawns, calamari and mussels. poke them into the rice, or use a spoon if you have sensitive hand so that they are covered by the stock, don't forget to wash the mussels and de-beard them. now sit back pour yourself some lovely fino and watch all your hard work do its thing for about 20 mins. your paella is cooked when there is not more stock, don't worry if you think it is sticking on the bottom- that is the best bit. dress it with some flat leaved parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper. i like mine with aioli but that is mostly just for the prawns and chorizo- totally negotiable. Just chuck it on the table and basque in the complement that come pouring over you from this thoroughly scrumptious dish.

maybe someday some one will read this blog......

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