This is a favorite in our household. There are many ways to make this dish ranging from SUPER complicated, to fairly simple. We have chosen a fairly simple Cuban Method for our recipe today. Paella was said to be initially a rice dish that originated in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. The origins of this historical dish come from its name Paella, through which some say is a variant of the Arabic word “biqiyah”, which means leftovers. While there are different variations of this recipe, this is the one of the seafood versions of which carried over to Cuba.
- 24 mussels, cleaned
- 16 small neck clams, cleaned
- 4 medium lobster tails, meat removed from shell and cut in bite-size pieces
- 2 pounds large raw shrimp, de-veined
- 1 -1/2 cups chorizo sausage, diced
- 3 1/2 cups Valencia rice, or bomba rice
- 4 cups chicken broth
- One 8-oz. bottle clam juice
- 1 cup good quality red wine
- 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup carrots , diced
- 1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup green bell pepper,diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Sauté the chorizo sausage. This will draw any oils from the chorizo and help season the pan. Remove chorizo and set aside. Add the chorizo,carrots,tomato, onions, peppers, and rice to the pot. Add salt, pepper and Saffron threads. Bring the rice to a boil , reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer on the stove for 25 minutes, until the rice is almost fully cooked.
While the rice is cooking, you need to sauté all of the seafood. It is important that the olive oil be “seasoned” with the chorizo, if you need to– sauté a few additional chorizo links as needed to give your oil a distinct pink appearance. Sauté the seafood in small batches. Don’t overcrowd your pan, it needs to cook properly. Remove the Lobster from the tails. You may now dice it up to be evenly distributed in the Paella .When sautéing the seafood, you need to slightly under cook it. The Shrimp and lobster will be a pink color; scallops will become white and less translucent. Remove each batch as you go and keep the seafood covered and warm so that it does not dry out.If you have fresh clams and mussels, now is a good time to steam them in a little water and wine until they open.
Once the rice is almost done . You will gently fold the seafood and vegetables into the rice mixture. Then spoon everything into a round flat pan suitable for serving. Garnish the top of the dish with sections, green peas, lobster tail shells, slices of green or red bell pepper,green beans, clams, and mussels (in the shell.) Once you’ve assembled the paella in the Paella Pan, place the dish in a preheated 350ºF oven for 10-15 minutes only, just long enough to finish cooking meld the flavors and heat through. Do not over cook!