Chicken Paella

Seafood Paella

Oh my God this is good!  It's like God himself decided that people needed an especially delicious dish and came up with this.

Paella is so good, so exotic, and so showy.  It makes a great meal to serve to guests because the presentation is so beautiful, but it's still pretty easy to make.  Those are the good parts about this recipe.  The bad parts are that you need a special pan, special rice, and special spices, but once you make this I think you will agree it's worth it.  This recipe calls for scallops, shrimp, and lobster but as long as you have 2 lbs of shellfish it doesn't matter how much of each you have, you can even make this with just a single type of shellfish.

First you need a paella pan.  It should be carbon steel and, for this recipe, 15" in diameter.  They are not hard to get.  Kitchen specialty stores, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. carry paella pans, and the 15" size is the most common.  Second you need special rice.  Calasparra rice is the most popular paella rice and that's what I used for this recipe.  Calasparra rice is available on the internet and at specialty grocery stores like Fresh Market.  I get mine from Amazon.  Now you need saffron.  Saffron is unbelievably expensive when you consider how much it costs per gram but it's not so bad whey you realize you use so little in a recipe.  Again, saffron is available from specialty grocery stores and the internet and again I get it from Amazon.  Lastly you need a large even heat source.  We are lucky enough to have a smooth top stove with a very large burner that covers almost the entire pan but some people make paella on their gas or charcoal grill and that seems to work well.   

3 cups Calasparra rice
1 lb
large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb
lobster cut into 1" pieces or use langostino tails
8 cups
chicken broth or stock
frozen green beans cut into 1" to 1" pieces (don't use french style green beans as they cook too fast)
2 large
chopped onion (you can also add a cup of mixed red and green peppers that have been seeded and cut into slivers if you like)
2 tsp (total)
smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tbl
minced garlic
2 6" sprigs
fresh rosemary, with the leaves stripped from the stems and finely chopped
20 threads saffron
2 lb olive oil

Cut the tomatoes in half around the waist.  Scoop all the seeds and jelly out that you can with a small spoon.  Put a cheese grater in a bowl and use the large holes.  Put the cut side of the tomatoes against the grater and grate until all you have left is the skin of the tomatoes and all the juice and pulp is in the bowl.  Add 1 tsp of the smoked paprika, the salt, garlic, rosemary, and saffron to the tomato juice and pulp mixture and set this aside.  Heat the stock to almost boiling and keep it hot.

Add the olive oil to the paella pan and turn the heat to medium high.  When the oil is hot add the scallops and brown them on each side.   As soon as the scallops are browned add the shrimp and lobster and stir until shrimp are pink throughout but do not overcook.  The seafood does not need to be cooked all the way through as it will finish cooking later on.  Take the seafood out of the pan, set it on a plate, and cover with foil.

After the seafood is aside add the onions and green beans (the green beans can still be frozen at this point) to the paella pan and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Now add the tomato juice and pulp mixture and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add the rice and cook for 1 minute. 

Now turn the heat down to medium low and add 4 cups of the stock.  Since it is already hot it should start simmering almost immediately.  Adjust the heat so that the stock stays barely at a simmer.  Let this cook for 12 minutes.  Now add 2 cups more stock and let this come to a simmer and keep this at a very low simmer for another 12 minutes.  Arrange the seafood over the top of the paella, Add 1 more cup of stock, sprinkle the remaining tsp of smoked paprika over the seafood, and turn the heat down so that the stock barely bubbles. Cook until the stock is absorbed/evaporated.

Take the paella off the heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Serve.