I first had paella when I was visiting my in-laws. My mother-in-law Josefa, orginally from Madrid Spain, had made the traditional Spanish dish for me to try. She loves cooking as much as I do.
From Wikipedia: Paella is a typical Valencian rice dish, traditionally eaten on Sundays. The name paella is the word for “frying pan” in Valencian (from Latin patella). Paella is usually garnished with vegetablesand meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron, and olive oil.
This dish has become one of my family’s favorites. It is fairly simple to make, but does a take a bit of work. Since a major part of this dish is the seafood and saffron it can be expensive to make. But, you can substitute Spanish rice with saffron and only put shrimp if you want to save a little money.
I’m going to give you the true recipe for paella, and then I will give you some notes to modify for American style. This is for 1 cup of rice only.
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 cup of rice
1 pound of raw shrimp
1 pound of clams
1 medium onion chop
6 to 8 chop garlic. Do not be shied with the garlic “HA”
3 to 4 package of saffron
1 red chop red pepper
1/2 cup green Spanish olives
1 cup of fish stock
3 cups of chicken stock
Salt to taste
Little water if needed only
Recipe for the fish stock
Peel the shrimp, put the peels in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water boil, and reduce to 1 cup of stock. In another pot dissolve about 6 cubes of chicken bouillon cubes in 3 cups of water and boil (2 cubes per 1 cup) reserve 1/2 cup of the chicken stock.
In a large skillet pour in the oil and rice and sauté the rice till a light golden color, then add the onion and garlic and sauté. Know that the garlic will cook faster then the onion.
Add the cup of fish stock, saffron, red pepper, green olives, and chicken stock. Taste the stock and see if it needs salt. (Remember that the fish and chicken cubes are salty.)
At this point stir the rice. Taste your rice as it cooks, when the rice is half done, add the seafood, stir lightly to blend. Keep tasting the rice. If you think that the rice is dry then add the reserve 1/2 cup stock, when the rice tasted soft outside and a little nutty inside turn the heat off but leave the skillet on the burner, the rice will continued cooking as it cools.
If during the cooking time you see some grains of rice on the edge of the skillet that they are not cooking, then very careful with an spoon push these grains to the center of the skillet with-out stirring the rice. Try not to stir the rice….if you stir the rice it will break down the starches and make sticky rice.
NOTE: if you do not have the red pepper or saffron, use 1/2 cup of ketchup dissolved first with the fish stock. You can also buy Yellow Spanish rice with saffron if you don’t have saffron available. Also, making this dish just with shrimp is just as good. Be sure and pair paella with a good glass of wine. Makes wonderful leftovers the next day!