Winging the Paella
|Somehow I managed to make us all dinner Saturday night. I had help from my girlie girls and none of us managed to chop the tips of our fingers off. Bonus! I put Cindy on sausage patrol, while I took care of the onions, garlic and peppers. Mindy took care of dishes and hubbs sat on the deck taking care of his Miller Highlife. Mmm hmm.|
Like I said earlier, I checked out my favorite go-to sites for recipes and found a few interesting recipes for Paella. None had the exact ingredients I wanted to use, but that wasn't a big deal. What I learned from the combination of all the recipes I looked at was that Paella is just a big rice/seafood stew that isn't hard at all to make. I was relieved. I really wanted to Wow! the guestifriends, but I didn't want an asspain in the process, yanno?
So in a nutshell (kinda) here's what I did. I started off sauteing diced onions, minced garlic, diced red pepper and spanish paprika in a lil olive oil. I had Cindy slice keilbasa and Andouille sausages and brown them. While she was doing that and my veggies were sauteing, I made the rice using chicken stock and saffron.
Once all the components were cooked, I threw them all together and then added my shrimp and mussels. I needed to add extra chicken stock to give the mussles some steam to open. They took the longest. Had I known they would take that long to open, I wouldn't have added the shrimp with them. But, the shrimp came out beautiful anyway, not tough in the least. We served it simply with cornbread and butter - which was the perfect compliment to the savory stew.
If you get the chance and haven't tried this dish yet.. I totally recommend it. Other than a lot of pans used up (and really, had I been more "with it" I would of just sauteed the veggies and sausages together in the big pot that I was making the rice in.. because this totally could have been a one pot meal) this was super simple to put together and sooooooooooo delicious for not so much effort. =)
The ingredient list I'm giving you will make a LOT of Paella. I've still got a huge bowl of it in the fridge and we had some with steaks the next night.. so really, cut the ingredients in half if you aren't feeding an army.
1 c. vidalia onion, small dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole red bell pepper, diced
1 TBS. olive oil
2 tsp. spanish paprika
1/2 lb. keilbasa sausage, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 lb. Andouille sausage, sliced
1 1/2 c. uncooked white rice (I used Basmati rice)
2 2/3 c. good chicken stock
pinch of saffron threads
1 lb. fresh mussels (1 lb. gave us about 18 mussels - plenty!)
1 lb. med. raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 c. frozen sweet peas (I forgot the damn peas. Ugh.)
extra chicken stock (I have no idea how much more I put in - wing it people! :D)
2 TBS. fresh parsley, chopped
Your choice.. either use up a bunch of pans, like I did.. or start with a big stock pot and cook all your ingredients in it to save on clean up.
Saute the onions, garlic, peppers and spanish paprika in the olive oil. Brown the sausage. (We found these two sausages didn't give off much grease at all, so again this can all be done in one pan, if you'd like.) Prepare the rice by bringing the 2 2/3 c. chicken stock and the saffron threads to a boil, add the rice. Put a lid on it and lower the heat, simmering for roughly 15 minutes or so. (The rice wasn't done at this point, but I knew it had a while longer to cook once I added the seafood.)
Add the mussels first, put the lid back on and let them steam until they open - it took roughly 20 minutes for all of mine to open. If the rice soaks up all the chicken stock, add more so that the mussels can steam properly. As soon as they have opened, add the shrimp. If you need to add a lil more chicken stock at this point, do so.. you don't want the rice to burn to the bottom of the pan - and all the stock I used did not mellow out the flavors of any other ingredient. Shrimp should take about 5 minutes before they are ready.
Pour it all into a huge bowl and serve with a giant spoon and some hot cornbread with butter on the side. *swoon*