Everyone has their go-to, show-stopping recipe that the make during the holidays season because they know the recipe like the back of their hand and are sure that it will impress guests. For some people, this could be as easy as a homemade mac and cheese or as meticulous as a boeuf bourguignon. This holiday season, we have 4 self-professed chefs at the house; me, my mom, my sister and my grandmother.
One of my sisters go-to recipe is for Paella. Back when she was in college, she spent her Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain. When she returned to the States, she carried with her host dad’s Paella recipe. For reunions with friends and family following her semester abroad, she would make Javier’s (her host dad) Paella. Eventually, she shared the recipe with my mom and I.
When we know we will be hosting a large crowd, we tend to lean towards this recipe because we know it burst with flavor and can be adjusted with what we have on hand. This recipe is not Javier’s (that will be shared another time) because we modified it by adding clams, peas and sun-dried tomatoes. These can all be removed and the dish will still make everyone want more.
If you ever talk to someone about paella, they might throw out a few words that you should be aware of. El Sofrito is the flavor base, consisting of the vegetables and spices. This is what you cook first so that the flavors emerge and are absorbed by the rice. El Socarrat is the burned/chewy bits of rice, meat and vegetables at the bottom of the pan. This coveted part is usually found at the center of the bottom, right above the flame and enjoyed at the end of the meal. Paella is to be eaten from the outside of the pan to the inside.
So for your next gathering, keep this one pan, flavor blasting recipe on hand. It doesn’t need much attention while cooking so you can let the dish do its final cooking when guests arrive. This way you can enjoy the Spanish dish in its prime manner.
- 6 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ pound chorizo/sausage, casings removed
- 1 white onion chopped very finely
- 1 roasted red pepper, chopped very finely
- 2 garlic cloves chopped very finely
- 1 tomato chopped very finely
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of Bouillon, any flavor
- 4 cups of bomba/calasparra/short-grain/sushi rice (about ½ cup of rice per person)
- 12 cups of boiling water (3 times the amount of rice)
- 1/2 cup of peas
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of saffron threads (mainly for color)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for garnish and sprinkle over
In the paella pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the chorizo/sausages.Using a wooden spoon, break apart the sausage into small pieces. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium high heat, until fully browned. Remove from the pan and place aside in a bowl.
Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion, pepper, garlic and tomato. Add the cayenne, coriander, turmeric, paprika and cumin, and stir. Once flagrant, add the wine and bouillon, and let sit for 2 minutes over low heat.
Add the rice and let brown for 1-2 minutes. Add the water, peas, sun-dried tomatoes and saffron. Increase the heat to medium high and let it reach a boil.
Once boiling, lower to a small simmer and let sit for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for another 10-15 minutes, to absorb the remaining liquid. Season with salt and pepper
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
Want to know more about Paella? Here’s a Saveur article about it:The Art of Paella