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Spain: Seafood and Meat Paella

Seafood and Meat Paella

Paella de Mariscos y Carne

In Spain, a paella is an outdoor event. Large paella pans, some more than three feet in diameter, are set over open wood fires. The dish takes on a wonderful smoky flavor from the fire. Calasparra rice is the most authentic choice for this dish, it has been used since it arrived with the Moors in the Middle Ages. If you can’t find it however, use the same kind of rice you’d choose for a risotto.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
3 whole chicken breasts,
whole chicken legs, cut into drumsticks and thighs
2 pounds boneless pork roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
salt as needed
freshly ground black pepper as needed
1/2 pound squid, bodies sliced in rings, tentacles coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped plum tomato
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2-1/2 cups round-grain rice
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crushed
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
5 piquillo peppers, cut into julienne
2 dozen mussels
2 dozen littleneck clams
12 jumbo shrimp, in the shell (see note)
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Heat the oil in a paella pan or deep skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.

Season the chicken and pork with salt and pepper and, working in batches, sear in the hot oil, turning as necessary, until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes.

Add the squid, green pepper, tomato and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the squid becomes opaque, about 3 minutes.

Add the rice and saffron, stir to coat evenly, and sauté until the rice begins to change color slightly, about 4 minutes.

Add the broth and wine, bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.

Add the peas and piquillo peppers and arrange the mussels, clams and shrimp on top of the paella. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cover the pan or skillet and transfer to the oven. Cook until the rice has absorbed the broth and the clams and mussels open, 15 to 20 minutes. Let the paella rest for 5 minutes before serving directly from the paella pan or skillet.

About Shrimp:

If you can find jumbo shrimp with the heads on, show them off in this dish. You may need to teach the uninitiated how to twist away the tail, pull off the shell and then suck out the juices from the head. Have plenty of napkins on hand if this is a family-and-friends affair. For a more elegant dining experience however, put out finger bowls with a thin slice of lemon to rinse off your fingertips.

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