Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spanish Paella

It is getting colder and colder outside, and our appetite for carbs and hearty foods is overpowering! Making an effort to keep a healthy diet will definitely pay off after the holidays!

After Thanksgiving, and weeks away from Christmas, we usually feel the need of a break from turkey. So, we thought this would be perfect timing for Spanish Paella. A healthy, hearty and delicious meal for the entire family!There are several versions of Paella, we chose one with seafood and chicken.

Spanish Paella

Serves 4, designed to be made in a 12-inch skillet.

-4 chicken thighs, or breast (about 1 3/4 pounds).
-Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper.
-2 tablespoons olive oil.
-1 large onion, chopped.
-3 tablespoons chopped garlic.
-1/2 pound shrimp.
-1/2 teaspoon saffron threads.
-1 1/2 cups long-grain rice (use whole rice for a richer nutritional value).
-1 bouillon cube (optional).
-1 ripe tomato, chopped.
-2 cups water.
-12 littleneck clams, scrubbed.
-4 (3-ounce) pieces black sea bass, about 1 inch thick, skin on*.
-1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded.
-1 cup frozen peas, rinsed under hot water to defrost.
-1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley.

*You could replace the sea bass with rouget, striped bass, dorade, or even sea scallops.

1. Season the chicken with salt and white pepper.

2. Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan’s hot, add the oil and chicken. Brown the chicken well on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate. If the chicken has released a lot of fat, spoon some out; you want about 3 tablespoons left in the pan.

3. Add the shrimp and sauté, stirring for about 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until it becomes translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saffron and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the rice and stir. Crumble in the bouillon cube, if using, add the tomato, and pour in the water. Stir, return the chicken to the skillet, and bring to a simmer.

4. Bury the clams in the rice, hinge down. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, season the fish with salt and pepper. Add the mussels to the pan, pushing them hinge down into the rice, then add the fish, skin side up. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Scatter the peas over the rice, cover again, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the paella rest for 5 minutes.

6. Garnish with the parsley and serve right from the skillet.


Lobster rocks in paella. You’ll need 2 lobsters, each about 1 1/2 pounds, prepared for pan-roasting.

Leave all the fat in the skillet after you brown the chicken. Add the lobster pieces and sauté until the shells turn bright red. Set the lobster aside with the chicken and proceed with the recipe. Add the lobster to the rice along with the clams.

Recipe based on the book FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT: The Cook's Essential Companion by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. Text copyright (c) 2008 by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. Photographs copyright (c) 2008 by Ben Fink.

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