Chorizo Paella

I made us a big skillet of awesomeness.

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And I did it all in one pan… without even heating up the kitchen.

SCORE!!

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Although, now that I say that out loud I am silently thinking to myself that at least for me, up here in the mountains, it’s really not that hot out, like at all. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind heating up my kitchen right about now. I mean, I am highly embarrassed to admit this, but I totally have my heater blowing on my legs right now.

What?!

Don’t judge, it’s cold and stormy here and I am about to head out to bring the goats in from the field, and well, it kind of gives me chills just thinking about it. I really should have brought the goats in like an hour ago, but I am procrastinating going outside by telling myself that I need to finish writing this post first. Is it just me or has it been on the colder side this summer?

Even when I was in Cleveland visiting family it was only in the low 70’s. Now come on, I need at least 80 degrees to be extra happy and in my shorts and t-shirts. 70 is more like leggings and a sweater, and the current 45 degrees I am experiencing in Colorado, well that’s more like socks, leggings and a BIG cozy sweatshirt… maybe even some serious snuggles with a blanket.

Sidenote: I was recently asked how I survive living where I live when 85 degrees is my ideal temperature. The honest answer, it’s a struggle! If it weren’t for my family and the fall (I adore an awesome, cozy fall and the months of September, October, November and December are awesome up here), I might not be able to get through the rest of the year.

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Completely random sidenote # 2: Since I seem to be in the procrastination mode… and I am oh so easily distracted… I decided to be weird and watch the running of the bulls on snapchat.

OMG, that’s CRAZY!

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Oh but hey!! The running of the bulls kind of fits in with my Spanish themed recipe, right? I mean, not really, but the running of the bulls is done in Spain and paella was created in Spain, so hey, it kind of justifies my distraction and ties it in with this post, you know, like background research.

Not gonna lie, I’d chose this skillet grilled seafood and chorizo paella over running with the bulls in Spain any stinkin’ day. Just sayin.

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Ok so the paella.

Can you believe I made this whole thing on the grill, and dirtied just one dish, one cutting board and one knife?!?! I was SO happy about the minimal mess since lately cleanup around here has been a 2+ hour project and the thought of cleaning even one more dish, or vacuuming up another crumb or wiping more stickiness up off the floor is pretty much daunting.

Clearly not only the flavors of this dish were welcomed with open arms, but also the simplicity of this dish! Bring on more easy clean up meals… please!!!

Making paella on the grill is really just the same as making it on the stove. You simply need to try to keep the heat of your grill a consistent temp and you’re good to go. Bonus, you also get a little smoky flavor from the grill as well!!

And if you don’t have a grill? Well don’t worry, you can totally just make this on the stove-top. Works great both ways.

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

For my paella, I used a mix of chicken, chorizo and seafood. You can do all three like me, pick your favorites or leave them out completely and make a vegetarian version. It’s totally adaptable to your personal taste buds. For the seafood, I used a mix of a lobster tail, jumbo tiger shrimp, clams and mussels. It was the perfect combo if you ask me and made for a really pretty dish too!!

I also finished my dish off with a drizzle of truffle oil, which I kind of think was awesome, but I do realize that truffle oil is a bit pricey, so only use it you have some.

OH and I didn’t just use plain green olives. NOPE. I used blue cheese stuffed olives (my favorites are the DeLallo brand) cause I mean, a little cheese never hurt. <–Truth.

Double OH, if you’re out to impress someone, make this dish, it’s definitely a show stopper!

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella.

  • prep time: 10 MINUTES
  • cook time: 45 MINUTES
  • total time: 55 MINUTES

yields: SERVES 6

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
    • 4 ounces spanish chorizo, sliced
    • 3-4 heirloom tomatoes, chopped OR 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled san marzano tomatoes
    • 1 (8 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, sliced
    • 1/4 cup white wine
    • 2 cups jasmine or basmati rice
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 2 small skinless chicken thighs or breast
    • 1/3 cup blue cheese stuffed green olives
    • 1 teaspoons spanish smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon salt + pepper to taste
    • pinch of saffron
    • 16 ounces fresh seafood (I used 1 lobster tail, 6 jumbo shrimp, 4 clams, and 4 mussels)
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • fresh chopped parsley, for serving
    • white truffle oil, for serving (optional)

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Instructions

Preheat your grill to high heat.*

Place a very large cast iron skillet (it should be at least a 12 inch circle or oval skillet) on the grill grates. Allow the skillet to heat with the grill. Once the skillet is hot, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Season lightly with salt + pepper and cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring often or until the onion is soft and sweet. Add the chorizo and cook until just browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (crushed by your hands if using canned), their juices and roasted red peppers. Continue cooking another 5 minutes.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan and then stir in the rice, cooking until toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and give everything a good stir. Slide in the chicken, green olives, paprika, another pinch of salt + pepper and a good pinch of saffron, stir gently to combine, cover tightly with the skillet top or tin foil and then place the lid on the grill. Grill covered for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the seafood with a little olive oil, salt + pepper. After 15 minutes of cooking on the grill, carefully remove the skillet top or foil and add the seafood to the skillet. Cover again with the top or the foil and return the grill lid, continue cooking another 15 minutes or until the seafood is cooked through and the rice fluffy.

Remove the skillet from the grill and drizzle the dish with lemon juice. If desired drizzle with white truffle oil as well and season lightly with salt + pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley. EAT!

*You can also make this on your stovetop, just follow the directions and cooking times as directed above.

Skillet Grilled Seafood and Chorizo Paella | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

And ok, kind of DELICIOUS too!

Mastering the Art of Paella

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My friend Anu made this amazing Paella that my boyfriend still talks about to this day. Not only is he a wonderful cook but a humorous writer and a talented photographer, so I asked him to write about his experience with Paella….

“Even before Arati (that’s his lovely wife) and I went to Spain in April 2010, I had been a serious fan of Spanish food, wine, and lifestyle (call me a Spanophile). Last year I learned that every November since 2003 the Paella Lovers United (PLU) group in Austin had been holding a paella cookoff and competition. So going to Spain, one of my goals was to taste the real deal, deconstruct it and bring back some of the authentic ingredients.

From what I’ve read online and learnt in Spain, the very original paella was actually a land (turf) meat dish with rabbit and snails – basically stuff farmers could find easily in the countryside. Then other meats like chicken and duck were introduced. Later on seafood started being substituted by the Valencians and today most people think of paella as a seafood dish.

After coming back with somewhat smuggled paprika and saffron from Barcelona, I put together a team of cooking fans from my work to compete in the PLU competition. Our name? La Bomba –  a combination of the name for the Spanish rice used for paella (Bomba) and one of the  finest LDP movies ever (La Bamba). Our friend who is a brilliant designer and a screen printing enthusiast, Mari, came up with a t-shirt logo that would sum up our recipe strategy – we are going old school, baby!

La Bomba team logo designed by Mari DiGiovanni.

Our recipe strategy is to go traditional style with land meats – specifically, rabbit, duck, Spanish chorizo and pork (pork belly). Since I’ve been back from Spain, we have practiced numerous times. The first time we cooked it, we went seafood style on a small 14” pan and using risotto rice (almost blasphemous, but we were desperate) – it turned out very delicious.

First attempt: seafood paella on a gas grill – delicious! (Photo: Anu Saha)

The times after that, it has been on a giant 22” pan on an open wood fire with meats instead of seafood.

The main things you have to focus on are the following:

–  Rice:  Gotta use bomba rice – no substitutions.  The ratio is always 3 cups stock to 1 cup rice.

–  Meats:  I pick up what I can at the farmer’s market (Kocurek Family has awesome pork belly).  Rest I get at Central Market.  I never said this was going to be cheap.

–  Sofrito:  It’s a mixture of grated tomatoes, grated onions, garlic and olive oil cooked down to almost a paste and is the main flavor base for your paella.

–  Soccorat:  The hardest thing to perfect.  This is the slightly burnt but deliciously crispy layer that forms at the bottom of the pan – highly prized bites.

–  Paprika:  Use only nice smoked Spanish paprika.  It will cost you a pretty penny, but totally worth it.  I got mine from the Central Market bulk foods division.

–  Pan:  It’s not too expensive to get a 22” (~$55) or 13” pan (~$19) from Sur La Table orlatienda.com.

–  Heat:  Outdoor grill/firepit with wood or wood charcoal.  I use a mix.  While a gas grill or charcoal brickets may seem like a convenient shortcut, avoid the temptation.

Speaking of ‘convenient shortcuts’, there are enough Rachel Rays and Sandra Lees on TV to show you how to trivialize, butcher and drive into extinction hundreds of years of culture and tradition by taking yumm-o shortcuts – I ain’t doing it. My mama cooks the real deal, and I will do all I can to keep those amazing recipes alive. I can understand using canned stock instead of making your own – but there’s a line. [Stepping off my soapbox now].

Now for more of the actual cooking. This recipe is for a 22-inch pan. I’ve learned to cook like my mom, so pardon the lack of precise (or any) measurements.

–  4 lb tomatoes, grated – keep all the juices

–  2 medium white onions, grated – keep all the juices

–  8 cloves of garlic, minced

–  1 (2- to 2 1/2-lb) rabbit, cut into bite-size pieces

–  1 good sized duck leg cut into bite-size pieces and skin scored

–  ½ lb of pork belly, cut into bite-size portions

–  2 links of Spanish chorizo (no preservative ingredients), sliced into disks

–  1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

–  Spanish extra virgin olive oil, enough to cook with

–  Spanish smoked paprika

–  Salt

–  Black pepper

–  1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips

–  1 lb long beans

–  1 jar/can of Spanish red peppers

–  5 cups of bomba rice

–  15 cups of low sodium chicken  broth

–  Lemons, for garnish and topping

Cover all the meats with some paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil and let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Get the fire going and start heating the pan on the grill. Start browning the duck with the skin side down and then turn them over. You are just looking for a good crisp skin and not trying to cook all the way. Barely crisp the pork belly because it’s most likely already a cooked or smoked meat. Similarly brown the rabbit pieces and chorizo. At this point, you should see a lot of rendered pork and duck fat. If you throw any of this delicious tasting God’s gift to mankind away, I *will* unceremoniously unfriend you on Facebook. Now is a good time to sautee any garnishing vegetables, like long beans, strips of red bell pepper, etc. Remove the meats and sautéed vegetables off to a side dish.

Now for the sofrito. In the fat in the pan, add just a bit of olive oil (please don’t call it “E-V-O-O”). Then add the grated onions (including the juices) first and keep them moving all around the pan. You want the onion to start reducing and slightly caramelizing – this should take about 8 minutes. Now add the garlic and grated tomatoes (again, with the juices), salt and some paprika. Mix it up well and keep it moving all around the pan, trying to reduce the liquid down. You can also add about half a jar of the Spanish red peppers now. In 15-20 minutes, it should start becoming a dark reddish brown paste with no liquid present. This is your sofrito – the flavor base for your paella.

Sofrito in its last stage. (Photo: Anu Saha)

In the meantime, in a small bowl, crush the saffron with the back of a spoon and dissolve it in a bit of the broth you have heating in the stock pot.

Next add the rice and mix it up well to coat all the grains with the sofrito. Mix in the meats back in at this point to also to get coated well with the sofrito. Then slowly pour in all the broth (which you should keep heated in a stock pot on the stove – never add cold stock to a hot pan of rice). Also pour in the saffron infused broth at this point. Channel your inner mason and carefully spread out the rice and meats evenly all over the pan. You won’t be able to see anything under all that broth, but have faith in your zen as you go all Japanese sand garden on this beast.

The whole thing should start coming to a slow simmer at this point. Let it sit and don’t touch it or disturb it! You want the rice to have an al dente feel to it – soft outside with a slightly firm bite to it. It should not be creamy like a risotto but not too dry. So try to keep some extra stock around to add if the rice doesn’t cook through.

After all the liquid disappears (around 15-20 minutes) give it some more time and start checking around the center and the edges for the soccorat. I like to put my nose just above different parts of the paella to try to smell that slightly burnt caramelized aroma of the soccorat.

Once you have confirmed some decent soccorat-ization, top with the beans, peppers, etc and take it off the heat. Dig in! I like to add a bit of sea salt and squeeze a bit of lemon after I serve myself some paella on my plate. And of course, get a glass of some good Spanish red wine.

Done! Have fun w/ the garnishes. (Photo: Anu Saha)

Our Spanish Wine (Photo: Anu Saha)

If you can serve this with a side of grilled and charred green onions and asparagus accompanied by a home-made romesco sauce, someone will ask you to marry them.”

(Photo: Mari DiGiovanni)

Want to try delicious paella cooked by 30 different teams, including Anu’s team La Bomba? Head on over to Paella Lovers United and buy a ticket for the November 6th, 2010 cook-off.