Recipe Cuban/Mexican style Paella

medtran49

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Cuban/Mexican paella

This is not a Spanish paella. We make variations on this depending on what's available and how much we want to spend. No lobster in the 1 pictured, but we use it more often than not.
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4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin optional
16 shrimp, shelled, tailed and vein removed (reserve shells)
16 littleneck clams or mussels
2 Caribbean lobster tails, each cut into 4 pieces
3 links fresh chorizo, each cut into 4 pieces
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, skin removed, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen baby green peas, thawed
1 medium-large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups Bomba or Valencia or Arborio or Calasparra rice
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin (just a guess as we don't normally use a recipe) + more for chicken
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne, more if you like it spicy (guessing) + more if you want for chicken
Large pinch of saffron threads, maybe 1/2 tsp packed (again just a guess)
salt and pepper
EVOO

Place the shrimp shells in a small saucepan along with some water and boil while you are prepping your other ingredients. You can add a mirepoix if you like.

Chop your onion and garlic.

Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne if desired. Heat a 12" skillet or paella pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add some EVOO and brown chicken thighs on each side. Remove from heat and set aside.

To same skillet, add more EVOO if needed and add the onion. Cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then, add the chorizo and cook until browned. Add the cumin and toast. Then, add the rice and toast until it starts to become translucent. Meanwhile, strain your shrimp stock into a large measuring cup, add the saffron and stir it in, let it sit for a minute or 2, then add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups. Add to skillet and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper as you normally would for that amount of rice. Add the chicken back in, cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Don't stir the rice. You want it to get slightly crusty/crispy and brown on the bottom, AKA socarrat. Add the clams or mussles and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the lobster, shrimp, and peas. Cover and cook just until the clams open. Remove from heat, add the roasted red bell strips and serve.
 
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medtran49

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A couple of other paellas we have made.

Paella with pork belly chicharrones, chicken chunks, shrimp. The chicharrones were homemade and spiced like Spanish chorizo, Aleppo pepper, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder.
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Using Bomba rice. There's Maine lobster (small) claw and tail meat, shrimp, chicken, chorizo, some of Craig's home cured bacon that was leftover from something else, some sofrito that I made a huge batch of and froze in portions a while back, green peas and roasted red bell strips, and, of course, some saffron.
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medtran49

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Looks lovely - but why is it not Spanish (given the huge variations in how paella is made across Spain) and what makes it Cuban/Mexican?

Spaniards don't usually mix seafood and land food. They also use the hard dried Spanish chorizo, which could also be substituted for the fresh chorizo in the recipe above. You would just dice it small or zap in the food processor and add it when you add the rice/stock.
 
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