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The CookingBites Cookalong: Paella

Discussion in 'Competitions & Challenges, Questions & Quizzes' started by morning glory, May 7, 2017.

  1. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Have you ever cooked Paella? If not, then now is your chance to try! If you have cooked it before, you can share your wisdom and cook along too. The idea of the Cookalong is that members cook a classic dish within a certain timescale and share their experience. Its a bit of fun and a chance to learn. The new challenge is the famous Spanish dish Paella


    I’ve included my seafood paella recipe in the next post as a possible starting point. I’m not claiming its ‘authentic’ - its an amalgam of various other recipes plus trial and error! Its one I’ve used for years but I vary the ingredients, sometimes leaving out the chicken, sometimes adding squid or fish. There are plenty of other recipes available. As Valencian chef Llorenç Millo observes, "paella has as many recipes as there are villages, and nearly as many as there are cooks”. Some versions contain chicken and rabbit and no seafood. There are also vegetarian/vegan versions. Paella is all about the rice (and saffron) and you need to use paella rice if you possibly can.

    You don’t need a specialist paella pan - any wide fairly shallow pan will suffice. For years I used a large non-stick frying pan with foil as a lid. But there is one golden rule where paella is concerned; once the stock is added to the rice it is not stirred. Its not a stir fry! The undisturbed rice should form a delicious golden, saffron flavoured crust on the bottom of the pan. This is known as the socarrat.

    Here are some possibly useful links:

    Please add your comments, photos, experiences to this thread. Provisional closing date Monday 22nd May, but we can be flexible if people haven't had time and want to participate. Please do say if you are intending to join in!
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
    Shermie and MypinchofItaly like this.
  2. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Basic Seafood Paella

    Ingredients (serves 4)

    300g boneless, skinless chicken cut into pieces (I used thigh)
    225g paella rice
    500ml chicken or fish stock
    A large pinch of saffron
    2 tbsp oil
    A generous splash of white wine (optional)
    1 medium onion, chopped
    3 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1/3 of a tin of chopped tomatoes
    2 tbsp paprika (smoked or unsmoked)
    12 large raw prawns, shelled
    20 live mussels

    • Stir the saffron strands into the stock and set aside to allow the flavours to develop.
    • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a paella pan or a large deep frying pan with a lid. Fry the chicken over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the meat is starting to turn golden around the edges. Set aside.
    • Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic and chopped pepper. Cook gently until they soften. Add the rice, turning it to coat all the grains.
    • Add the tomatoes, paprika and the stock. Salt to taste. Add the wine, if using. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for ten minutes. Do not stir.
    • Add the chicken, prawns and mussels, tucking them in to the rice. Scatter the peas over the dish. Cover and cook gently for a further 8-10 minutes until the prawns cook through and the mussels open. Leave the dish to stand covered for ten minutes before serving
    • Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  3. Ken Natton

    Ken Natton Well-Known Member

    Bolton, UK
    You see, my problem is, the moment I put the prawns and the mussels in,there is only one person in this house who is going to eat it. And that is me. Does paella freeze and reheat? ...
  4. Ken Natton

    Ken Natton Well-Known Member

    Bolton, UK
    Seriously, are paella and risotto similar or completely different?
  5. MypinchofItaly

    MypinchofItaly Über Member

    Saronno (Italy)
    I've never cooked paella but that's could be a time to start. I love rice so maybe I'll cook paella with more enjoy!
    morning glory likes this.
  6. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Paella does not have to be seafood paella. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. Make it with just chicken and chorizo perhaps? There are arguments about the authenticity of using chorizo, but if you like it, use it.
  7. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    The main difference is that paella isn't creamy at all. A good risotto is creamy and unctuous. Paella has separate grains of rice and the 'crust' underneath. They are like chalk and cheese.
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  8. Shermie

    Shermie Senior Member

    Brighton, MA.
    I'd like nothing more than to make this dish, but call it non-authentic if you like.

    Because I just can't put all that seafood in it! Too much & too expensive, and it is only me! I'd put some scallops. shrimp, clams and chicken in it. That would be about it.

    I'm on a tight budget. :wink:
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  9. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    The recipe above is for 4 people. You do not need to put seafood in it at all if you don't want to. My recipe is simply an example - Paella isn't a seafood dish (although it can be).

    Scallops, shrimp, clam and chicken sounds wonderful! I really hope you try it. Do you have a suitable pan? Need I ask? :D
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  10. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    Yes to both. But probably best to make a paella that your family will like and make it a non-seafood paella. I am sad that you are the only one in your family who eats seafood. It must be lonely. :cry:
  11. Shermie

    Shermie Senior Member

    Brighton, MA.
    :wink:Because of seafood being so expensive, I'd have to get it a little at a time and put it in the freezer until I'm ready to do it. As for the saffron, I still have yet to get that, which is kind of expensive also.

    Everything else, I either have, or can get easily.
    morning glory likes this.
  12. Shermie

    Shermie Senior Member

    Brighton, MA.

    That DOES look good though! :wink:
  13. buckytom

    buckytom Senior Member

    What is paella rice? I've never seen a rice named that.

    Short grain, long grain, medium grain, wild, basmati, jasmine, texmati, brown, light brown, converted, etc... But never paella rice.
  14. morning glory

    morning glory Obsessive cook Staff Member

    'Paella rice' is not actually a variety of rice, but a generic term for rice that is suitable for making paella. Paella rice should not stick together, but be distinct and not in a creamy 'sauce' as in a risotto. Some recipe suggest substituting risotto rice but this will lead to a sticky result IMHO. . Spanish rice is rounded and short and it absorbs liquid well so it it stay slightly firm during cooking. The rice grains absorb flavour from the liquid - the rice should be dry and separate when done, not creamy like risotto.

    Short-grain rice is essential for paella – preferably Spanish Bomba - (which is sometimes sold as Valencia rice) or Calasparra.

    If you want to get technical - this is why:

    Apparently, in the USA, purchasing these varieties can be difficult. Websites I've trawled suggest using a medium or short grain rice or (if you can obtain it) Calrose. Apparently there is a also a widely available medium-grain rice sold by Goya which is also suitable - although if check Walmart all the Goya rice products are 'ready-made' seasoned rice. However, it seems Walmarts do sell the Calrose:


    Looking at American recipes I see a mixed picture: Martha Stewart suggests risotto rice (I wouldn't recommend that), Tyler Florence lists short grain Spanish rice. I'd say try to get the Calrose. If not use short grain rice but not a risotto rice.
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
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  15. LadyBelle

    LadyBelle Well-Known Member

    I'm so excited!! Will post pics after the weekend. I'm off to a folk festival in wildest Wales, so will be wifi free until I'm home. On the Friday we'll be having a paella party for our first night of clamping. I love cooking paella on a glamping stove outdoors. Mine recipe is not at all authentic but it is tasty and goes down well with a crowd.

    1 red onion diced
    100g chorizo
    325g paella rice
    1 litre chicken stock
    1 red pepper diced
    200g raw prawns
    200g chicken
    100g peas
    1tsp each of chilli, cumin, garlic paprika, saffron

    Fry onion, chicken and chorizo until browned, add rice and stir for a minute. Add spices, red pepper and chicken stock, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 20 minus or until the stock is mostly absorbed. Add prawns and peas and cook until prawns are cooked.

    I chop and change ingredients, have made rabbit instead of chicken, also replaced meat with seafood. If I can get fresh mussels I also add them.
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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