Food Flashback: Paella

blog_paella
To give this post some context, I am dying to visit Spain.  It’s been at the top of my travel list for years and yet somehow I never get there. During my first European trip, I fell in love with Italy too much and never got around to Spain.  My husband has been there twice and would love to go back but so far,  family obligations, time and expenses have taken precedence.

Although I have yet to taste Spanish food in Spain, my husband consoles me with one of the country’s most famous dishes – paella – and it has become one of my favorite dishes. He usually includes mussels and/or shrimp but for this version (see photo, which does not do it justice), he used chicken, sausage and vegetables we had on hand.

Ingredients:

saffron

green beans

red bell pepper

chicken

chorizo sausage

peas

arborio rice

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

There are a million paella recipes on the internet, some without saffron even. This is my husband’s version and he says it’s not paella without saffron!

1 ) Sauté chicken until well done and set aside. Cook the chorizo sausage until done. You can also cook both together but the chicken needs a bit more time.

2 ) Steam green beans (optional). We had leftover green beans that my husband threw in.

3 ) Sauté bell peppers until done.

4 ) Put meat, bell pepper and onions in the same skillet. Add in dry rice and toss to flavor for about 2-3 minutes. 

5 ) Add water or chicken stock directly into the pan. Keep adding and let the rice absorb the water.

6 ) Add peas and green beans.

7 ) Add saffron strands, just enough to get the right coloration.

8 ) Cook until the rice is done, about 20 minutes.

Important Note: You’ve got to taste the paella to make sure the rice is cooked and the flavors have melded together.  One time, at a dinner with my husband’s colleague, his wife served us crunchy rice!  She had cooked the rice according to package instructions but had neglected to actually taste it. One bite and she would have known the rice wasn’t done!

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