Ever since I found out that Keith and Marcela lived in Spain for a year and Keith learned how to make his paella there, I have been badgering them for a lesson. Well, ask and you shall receive! Keith, Marcela and their daughter Paula invited my whole family over for a convivial night of paella.
They are the consummate hosts and I’ve grown up with some good examples of hospitality. At one point Marcela snuck out to buy more cream for our coffee. That probably would never happen at my house because after dinner, I would be too busy drinking the wine to notice we needed more cream. Keith was also very patient as I tried to take pictures throughout the process. Paella moves quickly once you get going, so you need to be very organized before you start.
According to the recipe, this dish originated as a peasant dish to utilize leftover fish parts like the head and tails. It’s now world famous with many versions. There is Arroz de la Paella de Mariscos (with shellfish) and Arroz Con Pollo (a version with chicken added). On this evening, we enjoyed Arroz de la Paella de Mariscos. It is a delicious, social meal that easily feeds a crowd. -Steph McVox
Arroz de la Paella de Mariscos (feeds 8 people)
· ½ cup canola oil
· 2 tsp. olive oil
· 1 large onion, finely diced
· 4 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 green pepper, top and bottom removed, half of it finely diced and the other half cut into 20 thin slices
· 1 red pepper, top and bottom removed, half of it finely diced and the other half cut into 20 thin slices
· 4 cups of fish or chicken stock (Keith used fish stock)
· 1 tsp. saffron, finely ground
· 2 cups Valenciano rice (if not available, a medium grain works fine)
· 8 cleaned squid tubes (sliced) and tentacles
· 16 mussels, cleaned
· 16 clams, cleaned
· 4 ozs crab, real or artificial cut in to 1 “pieces
· 8 oz small scallops
· 1 lb of large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- Preheat oven to 350. Over medium heat on the stove, add canola and olive oil together in a large, oven proof paella pan. In a separate, large saucepan, combine the stock and saffron and bring to a boil.
- Once the oil is heated, add onion/garlic/minced green and red peppers (save slices for later) to the paella pan and sauté. Be careful to not let the mixture get “crunchy” or burn! When the onion is translucent, add rice to the mixture and stir continuously until the rice is completely coated in oil and begins to toast.
- When stock is boiling, add squid and tentacles and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes, remove and set aside.
- Add ¼ cup of stock to the paella pan and keep stirring while the rice absorbs the stock, approximately 5 minutes. Repeat 3 more times.
- Add the last of the stock and also add squid tubes, tentacles, shrimp, scallops and crab. Arrange the red and green pepper slices into a circular pattern like a clock, with a few in the middle (see picture)
- Place into the preheated oven and bake until stock is starting to get absorbed, approximately 5-10 minutes then add the clams and mussels. When no stock is visible at all and the mussels and clams are opened, remove from oven. Place 2 large tea towel over the paella for 5 minutes and let rest. Gather everyone to the table, pour some wine and serve. At the end of the evening, I went home with my own hand-written recipe and Paella pan!