My parents visited Minneapolis this weekend, and I’d been promising my uncle we’d make paella. So the timing was right for a paella party, and I had special Bomba rice and saffron I bought in Spain last year.
My Spanish host family would eat paella every Sunday in the summer of 2001. The recipe comes close to those family dinners, but is not nearly as effortless. I’ve only made this four times in 10 years, and the last time was during grad school in 2006 when I hosted dinner for 17 people. I’m pretty sure we ate from paper plates and drank wine from Solo cups because in grad school, no one’s judging. And my California friend opened her first box of Franzia (for sangria)–puncturing the wine pouch with a scissors an inch from the nozzle. But, that’s another story!
Paella de Marisco
▪ Calamari rings
▪ 3-4 chicken breasts
▪ 3 slices pork loin
▪ 2 pkg Hormel pepperoni twin sticks
▪ Bundle of fresh parsley
▪ Small can tomato sauce
▪ 1 medium sized onion
|▪ Garlic clove
▪ Small jar of pimentos
▪ 1/2 c. frozen peas
▪ Whole green olives (2 handfuls)
▪ Bomba rice (if you can find it)
▪ 1/4 of lemon per person
▪ 1 tsp. salt
▪ Garlic salt
Boil the shrimp and calamari in water in one pan. Scrub the clams and mussels and boil in a separate pan. Dice the chicken into cubes and boil in water in large pan. Add a bundle of parsley tied with a string, the chopped onion, and a 2-3 teeth of garlic to the pan with chicken. Cut the pork into strips and cook in a small frying pan with a 1/2 can of tomato sauce. Cut the pepperoni into 1/4 inch slices and brown in a pan. Save the juice to add to the rice mixture later.
Add rice and water to a boiling pan (rule of thumb: 1/2 c. uncooked rice per person). For each cup of uncooked rice, add 2 cups of water from the leftover water from each of the chicken, shrimp and shellfish pans. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the saffron (5-6 threads) and add a few drops of water until it’s a dark reddish-yellow liquid. Stir it into the rice, and it will give the rice a yellow appearance. If you want a deeper yellow, add a few drops of yellow food coloring. (I won’t tell.)
After all the meat and rice are cooked, add it a roaster pan. Decoratively place the shellfish in the pan, and add the frozen peas, pimentos, and green olives. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees in the oven, until the dish is warmed. Spritz with water periodically to keep the dish from drying out.
After serving the dish, squeeze lemon juice on top of the paella. Season with garlic salt, if desired. Spanish food is generally not very spicy, but you may wish to spice it up according to your taste.