Surf & Turf Paella Recipe

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There's nothing like a piping hot homemade paella to satisfy a group of hungry friends on a cold winter night. It's got everything you would need in a great meal: carbs, protein and veges, all in one glorious pan. Pair it with a nice glass of wine or sangria, and you're golden! My first attempt at making this was in preparation for a holiday feast my foodie friend Derek, and I were planning, Mas-Giving as we like to call it. Our own foodie holiday somewhere in between Christmas and Thanksgiving, it was definitely a meal fit for the gods.

For a more authentic paella, you should definitely invest in a paella pan. I came to find that Cost Plus World Market carried the most affordable one at $14.99, or better yet, check out their paella gift set for $19.99. I found this pan to be perfect for my needs as I rarely make paellas (but that might soon change as I am now OBSESSED). The pan's made in Spain to boot! Can't get more authentic than that.

Prior to my first attempt at battling this beast, I read through a million different recipes online and found that Fine Cooking's article provided most guidance to techniques that I followed. There are many ways to make a paella, and the combination of ingredients are endless, but here's my version of a Surf & Turf Paella.

Surf & Turf Paella

Serves 4-6

5 cloves of garlic, skin on for roasting
3/4 onion, half-moon sliced
2 cloves garlic minced with 1/4 onion finely diced
4 ounces chorize sausage, cut into pieces
2 chicken thighs - cut into 1 inch cubes
2/3 cup of frozen seafood mix, thawed and drained (I got mine from the Korean Market)
15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
2 cups uncooked paella rice
4 cups chicken broth + a bit more
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup dry white wine, like a chardonnay
2 pinch saffron
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
8 slices lemon, for garnish

The Paella Set Up










1. Brown Meats. Place your 15'' paella pan over an evenly distributed heat source. In my case, I was lucky enough to have an outdoor burner that fit my pan perfectly. If you don't have that readily available, I would try my best to place my pan over two burners over medium high heat. Season your cubed chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan and place 4-5 cloves of garlic with their skin on to the pan. The garlic will stay in the pan for the rest of your cooking time as this will allow it to give the dish more flavor, and allow your garlic to roast. Add in chicken thighs and saute for 5-7 minutes, until all sides are browned. Remove from pan. Next, add in your sausage to saute.

(This recipe calls for chorize sausage, but I was only able to get my hands on italian sausage, so that's what I used here).

2. Add Onions and Roasted Red Peppers. As your sausage is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and start cooking your onions and red pepper. I chose to use roasted red peppers because I thought it would give the dish more flavor, but you can use fresh red peppers here just as easily. Add a few pinches of salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions slightly soften. Remove sausage once it browns.

Meanwhile, as you're cooking everything in the paella pan, begin heating up your chicken broth in a separate sauce pan. Here, I added lobster shells that I had from another thing I was cooking that day to give the broth more flavor. On other days, I would add the shrimp shells peeled from the shrimps for the paella to the broth to give it more seafood flavor. You also see a pinch of saffron in the broth. I added this so that the flavor of the saffron begins to release as it shimmers.

3. Cooked Diced Tomatoes. Push onions and red peppers aside to create an empty center for this next step. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add mixture of minced onions and garlic for 1 minute or until fragrant. Then add diced tomatoes, make sure it's drained, you don't want a watery paella. Add a few pinches of salt. You can't see it here, but I also added an extra pinch of saffron to the tomatoes to give it more flavor. Make sure to break up the threads to release the flavor. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Heat Seafood Mix and Saute Shrimp. Although this ingredient probably isn't used in a more traditional paella, I felt that my frozen seafood mix gave my paella extra bites of seafood without the extra cost. For the amount that you see there in the picture above, I probably paid about $2 for the mix of calamari, clams, shrimp, octopus. Definitely worth looking into if you're a big seafood fan. Cook until warm and remove from pan. As you're warming up your seafood mix, also take the time to saute your shrimp so that it's pink on both sides, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Add Green Peas. Simple enough right? :)

6. Deglaze Pan with White Wine. As your peas begin to warm up, you can deglaze your paella pan with a dry white wine. Here, I am using a $2 chardonnay from Whole Foods. Make sure to scrape up all the brown bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.

7. Add Rice. Once all your liquids evaporate, create a center for your rice. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add rice. Cook under direct heat for 4 minutes, or until the rice becomes a little translucent.

8. Add Broth. By now, your broth should be nice and simmering. Make sure to remove whatever shells you've placed into your broth. Mix the rice into the rest of the ingredients. Make sure it's distributed evenly, because once you add your broth, you should not poke at the rice any more. Evenly pour your broth over your rice and vegetables.

9. Arrange Meats & Seafood. Once you've added your broth, make sure to add all your meats and seafood into the mix quickly. Position everything as you like. Since I didn't have enough time to buy mussels for this paella, I left it out, but I would also add my mussel at this step.

At this point, there is not much to be done with your paella except to marvel at all the work you just put into this baby. I set my heat to a medium-low, and watched as the rice began to absorb all the liquids.

10 minutes into cooking this, I covered with a large piece of aluminum foil for 5 minutes to allow some condensation to hit my rice to make sure it's fully cooked through. Lifted the foil and let it cook for another 5 minutes. When I saw the rice fluff up, I knew it was done! Garnish with lemon wedges and italian parsley.



Finally, as an added bonus, I made a little make-shift spanish aioli for the paella, which my guests and I both agreed really topped off the whole thing. I added a tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice, 2 roughly chopped cloves of garlic and parsley to my magic bullet, blended, and volia!


Bon Appetit!

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