Perfect Paella

Recipe By:  Amy Rosen
Perfect Paella

Spanish bomba rice from Calasparra is the most authentic choice for paella, but can be difficult to find. Italian short-grain arborio is an excellent substitute.

Ingredients
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, intact, plus 3 cloves garlic, sliced and reserved
  • 2  tbsp olive oil plus a drizzle
  • 3 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
  • 1⁄2 tsp saffron threads
  • Pinch of sea salt, plus 1⁄2 tsp
  • 4 to 6 (1 lb.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 (3⁄4 lb.) raw chorizo sausages, removed from casings and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and sliced into strips
  • 1 large tomato, halved then grated down to skins, peel discarded
  • 1 1⁄2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
  • 12 raw large shrimp (about 1⁄2 lb.), peeled and deveined, tails on
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Directions Yield:  Serves 4 to 6
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice 3⁄4″ off the top of garlic bulb, place bulb on piece of tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, tightly wrap with foil and roast 40 minutes. When done, set aside. Increase oven temperature to 400°F.
  2. In saucepan, bring stock to boil, then reduce and simmer. In a small measuring cup, crush saffron with pinch of salt, grinding with a spoon, then add 1⁄2 cup of hot stock. Stir, then let steep for a few minutes before adding back to pot of stock. Remove stock from heat.
  3. In a 13″ or 14″ paella pan (or other ovenproof pan), heat oil on medium-high. Add chicken; sauté about 5 minutes. Add chorizo; cook until meats are well-browned, about 3 to 4 minutes (meats do not have to be cooked through at this point). Remove meats from pan; set aside. Lower heat to medium and add onion and red pepper to pan; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato and 2 cloves garlic, sliced; cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Add rice to pan and stir to coat all grains with oil and juices. Add paprika and 1⁄2 tsp salt, stir to combine. Add meat back to pan, spreading vegetables and meats evenly around pan. Pat mixture into pan to evenly cover bottom. Increase heat to medium-high and add 3 cups of chicken stock (reserving 
1⁄2 cup). Unwrap roasted garlic bulb and place in middle of pan. Do not stir! Let stock come to boil, then carefully transfer pan, uncovered, to oven and cook about 20 to 30 minutes, or until rice is tender and no liquid remains. If rice is not done but no liquid is left, add reserved stock and cook another 7 to 10 minutes. Check to see if a crust has formed on the bottom of the pan by gently pulling at the edge with a fork. If not done, place pan over medium heat for a few minutes, watching carefully that crust develops but doesn’t burn.
  5. Just before paella is finished, sauté shrimp over medium-high in a drizzle of olive oil with final sliced garlic clove, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, until shrimp turns pink. Distribute around top of finished paella.
  6. Fluff rice with fork, garnish with chopped parsley, and bring to the table. Warn guests the pan is hot, but let them serve themselves, making sure to scrape up the crispy crust and to squeeze some roasted garlic over top.

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Photographer:
Angus Fergusson
Source:
House & Home March 2012
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