The People's Reciplex

Jack’s Meat & Seafood Paella

After thorough testing, this paella recipe is finally ready for prime time.  Its a crowdpleaser that serves 6-8 and can help you clear out your chicken or pork leftovers in the freezer.   Preparation time: 15 minutes; Total cook time: 1 hour.

The recipe also includes photos of what the paella should look like at critical points during cooking.  I think you’ll find those pretty valuable as it can be quite tricky to tell when the paella should be put into and removed from the oven.

The Irreplaceables

After many years, I’ve concluded there are 3 elements which are crucial and irreplaceable for making paella.  Plan ahead and buy these ingredients/elements beforehand.

  1. Smoked Paprika (known as “pimienton” in Spanish): this is the ingredient which gives paella its distinct flavor.  I can never find it in stores, so I buy mine from Amazon where they have Hot Smoked Paprika and Regular Smoked Paprika.  We use the hot one (which definitely has some kick), but feel free to use the regular instead if you prefer.  And NO, you CANNOT replace this ingredient with regular paprika.
  2. The Rice: Paella requires a hardy small grain rice to cook properly.  Cooking it with other grains will result in the wrong consistency.  The only two grains that have worked for me are Calasparra Rice (available at Amazon) or Arborio Rice which you can usually find at well stocked grocery stores.
  3. The Pan: Paella requires a shallow pan that can also go in the oven in order to get the right consistency.  You can usually find it at well-stocked kitchen stores or you can also get them online.   This recipe calls for a 15″  pan like this one.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • chorizo (we get ours from a German butcher, but amazon has some too)
  • 1/2 pound of scallops
  • 1/2 pound of fish (cut into bite sized cubes).  Our grocery store sells broken up pieces of leftover fish for cheap which is PERFECT for paella.  Otherwise, I sometimes get tilapia or cod filets. (No need to marinate them, they will absorb the paella flavor)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 green pepper (diced)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tea spoons of sea salt (or regular salt)
  • 1 tea spoon of black pepper
  • olive oil

Preparation

  1. Dice all vegetables and meat first.
  2. Cut the chorizo into 1/4″ slices.  You want it to be thick enough to chew into but narrow enough that it can be crispy all the way through.
  3. Heat the broth on medium in a separate pan. (It should be starting to boil when its time to pour it into the paella pan.)
  4. Stir fry chorizo in medium-high heat until slightly charred on both sides and set aside. (You can do this in your paella pan, but the bottom of my paella pan is uneven, so I use a frying pan first and then transfer my ingredients to the paella pan).
  5. Stir fry whole pork chops in medium-high heat until browned on all sides and put aside.  Note that the pork chop will likely still be raw on the inside.  This is Ok, since it will get cooked further inside the paella later.
  6. Stir fry chicken breast in medium-high heat until browned on all sides and set aside.  As with the pork chop, the breast should still be raw on the inside.
  7. Stir fry green peppers, onions and garlic in some olive oil in high-heat until the onions are transparent.
  8. Add tomatoes and smoked paprika and stir for a couple of minutes (see photo).
  9. If you’re using a frying pan, transfer the base to the paella pan.
  10. Add rice and stir it into the base and keep cooking without liquid for about a minute (see photo).
  11. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  12. Add broth, salt & pepper to the paella pan (the broth should be boiling by this point) and bring to a boil on the highest heat you have.  Once it boils, keep heat on high (unless you have a restaurant-level burner that outputs more than 15k BTUs; in which case you’ll want to lower the heat to medium-high or you risk running out of liquid before the rice is cooked enough).
  13. Cut the pork chops and chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks.
  14. Stir gently (the paella pan is going to be nearly overflowing at this point).  Add pork, chicken and chorizo (see photo).
  15. Stir gently from time to time.  Over time, the rice will begin to soften as it cooks and begins to absorb the liquid (see photo).
  16. Deciding exactly when the rice is ready to go into the oven can be tricky.  You want most of the water to be absorbed and the rice to no longer look soupy, but still be visibly wet (see photo).
  17. At this point, add the scallops and fish to the paella.
  18. Stir paella one more time to make sure the fish are well covered and transfer the paella to the oven (ideally, the oven should have reached 400 degrees by now).
  19. Leave paella in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  20. Knowing the exact moment for when to pull out the paella can also be a little tricky.  You want to pull the paella out before the outer layer of rice is fully cooked (when tasted, the outer layer will taste a little raw, like “al dente”) while the inside layer will be nearly 100% cooked.  Check out a photo of what the paella should look like when its ready to come out of the oven.  Take a deep spoonful from the side to find out  how far both layers have come.  Keep paella in the oven until you’ve reached this state.
  21. Cover the paella with tin foil and let rest for about 15 minutes (see photo).  This last step is critical as the steaming action of the paella will finish cooking the top layer of rice.
  22. Uncover and enjoy!  (See photo of what the paella should look like when its done)

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 24th, 2012 at 11:52 am and is filed under entrees.

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