OMG! Okay, I went a little crazy! I know! I know! I know! That's just too much! I mean, like where is the rice? I had to keep telling my guests, It's under there!
My first time, I enjoyed so very much preparing this meal - essentially a Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken, seafood, etc., cooked and served in a large shallow pan. This I did for Grannie's b-day - 73! It's a dish that pleases all - to see and to feast - and can be something different and still special each time you prepare it. The key, for me, is to put into it the meats and the veggies that you like. Do you see all that feasting fun & flavor! Truly, it's gotta be a meal in paradise!
Paella - The Meal of Paradise!
I should forewarn you that I do not prepare my Paella in the traditional manner of pan-searing the meats, sauteing the veggies, folding in the rice, adding stock and simmering all together. I prefer to cook all of my elements separately, including the rice - for example, I love roasted vegetables, so I cook and partially char my vegetables in the oven and I boil my rice in chicken stock, though separately (to ensure that the texture of my rice is perfect )
Here's what I did and what I like in my Paella:
Pre-heat the oven at 450 for roasting
Cup up in large chunks all your veggies (sweet onions, fresh garlic cloves (smashed), red & green bell peppers, carrots, fresh string beans, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, etc.); though, the hot peppers I dice in small pieces
Season veggies with my house mix (rosemary, roasted garlic powder, hot pepper flakes, salt & lemon pepper) sprinkle with olive oil, mix and place in the oven for 30 minutes
Preheat a fry pan on medium heat
Cut up in preferable chunks and cook your meats (sausage, boneless chicken, etc.) - sausage first, lightly season the chicken, then (and all in the same fry pan), the shrimp or whatever meats you prefer
Boil the rice in chicken stock, add seasonings (cumin, lemon pepper, cilantro, saffron, etc.) of choice. I prefer to use the dry chicken stock and just add water; it has a lot of flavor and you can control the intensity of flavor.
Cook perfect rice every time by:
measuring out 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water (which, I doubled for this dish)
simply, bring water (or chicken stock) to boil
add/stir in seasonings (if preferred)
add /stir in rice
turn down stove top to lowest temperature
cover pot and let simmer for exactly 20 minutes (turn on the timer)
DO NOT touch or uncover until after the 20 minutes
Renders perfectly cooked rice every time!
Once my rice is cooked, then I add a few more flavors, like Grannie's garlic paste, capers and diced sun-dried tomatoes
After cooking all of my elements (seasoned rice, roasted vegetables, pan-seared meats, arrange on a large platter, squeeze over it lots of lemon juice, also garnish with lemon wedges and parsley (spinach or some leafy-green), set in the middle of the table and feast - family style.
Fresh, delightful, flavorful - a big hit! Your guests will pull out the cameras first and then feast - and between the conversation and the Sangria, Paradise just keeps going - for hours on!
The Meal of Paradise
Descriptions, Recipes & Images by Mariby CorpeningTM