Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: June 28, 2011

Outdoor paella.

This is a project I've been wanting to do for a long time.  During my semester abroad in Spain, a mapache's age ago, one of the best meals I had was a picnic where we made paella on an open fire.  Now, of course, a million years later and in my suburban backyard, I am not allowed to have an open fire.  But I do have the Weber
which is very nearly as good.

I have made paella on the stove top, but it is not as good as outdoor paella because there is no smoke and because the pan doesn't get hot enough to give the rice a burned crust on the bottom (the socarrat, a word I just know off the top of my head and was not required to Google).  The Weber fixes both of those problems.

Here is how I did it.  (Photos are by Josh!  Didn't he do a nice job?)

Over extremely hot prepared coals, I heated olive oil in my paella pan, then added chicken breasts cut into two-inch pieces and some large-diced Spanish chorizo.

I browned the meat for a few minutes, then added a large sweet onion, minced.  After the onion softened, I added garlic and a generous pinch of saffron that had been soaking in a little hot water, along with the water.

Then tomatoes and bell peppers went in.

All the while, I kept stirring.  Cooking over the hot coals adds a bit of urgency to the operation.  Things happen very fast.  I was glad I thought ahead so that I had all my ingredients measured and ready to go before I started cooking, because there wouldn't have been time to run into the house.

After the tomatoes and peppers started to yield their juice a bit, in went the rice.

That's a generous bunch of herbs going in with the rice:  fresh parsley, sage, and oregano, chopped.

I stirred everything to coat the rice, then added chicken broth, shook the pan a little to distribute things evenly, and then left it alone until the rice had absorbed the liquid.  When the liquid was almost gone, so it looked like there was about three or five minutes left, I laid some shrimp on top.

Here I am, trying not to burn stirring paella, ever so much older and fatter than I was in Spain.

No comments:

Post a Comment