Monday, August 24, 2009

Paella - Bakespace Coast to Coast Recipe 2

First of all, those of you who haven't checked out Bakespace, get on over and check it out! Over the last couple of weeks a group of us have been giving Paella our own personal touch.

My version is loosely based on this Epicurious recipe. I say loosely because I just kept throwing in things that I found in my fridge and freezer.

One thing I couldn't find was decent squid, clams, or mussels. The squid I found in town was packaged in a box with nothing to keep people out. You could literally flip the top of the box open and touch the squid. EWWWW!! I couldn't help but wonder how many people had poked at it before it reached me.

I did find a bag of "seafood mix". It had little bits of squid, clams, octopus, you name it. It being only a few bucks a bag had me worried. To try to remedy any terrible fishy taste I rinsed the mix well and let it soak in milk and cayenne for a few hours.

See? Soaking the mix.

Next, I made a fresh herb paste out of thyme, oregano, cilantro, cayenne, coriander, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Most was rubbed on the chicken thighs. A small portion was reserved for the onions. I grilled the thighs and set them aside.

Up next were the veggies. Onions, squash, red, green, and yellow bell peppers were grilled.

In a cast iron skillet I tossed in rough cut chunks of onion, thick cut bacon, salt pork, and the remaining herb paste. After the bacon was cooked but still soft I removed it from the pan to set with the chicken thighs.

Only Mexican chorizo existed in the local stores so I used andouille instead. This was sauteed with crumbled Italian pork sausage until both were well browned.

The sausage was added to the container with the chicken, bacon, and onions and left to rest.

Next in the skillet was the arborio rice. I didn't drain the grease and toasted it until golden and speckled.

In a large stock pot I poured in clam juice, chicken stock, a pinch of saffron, the rice and set to boil.

While the rice was boiling I deglazed the cast iron skillet with a splash of Guinness.

To the boiling rice and broth I added halibut cheeks, snapper from a fisherman friend, and shrimp. The seafood mixture was drained, rinsed, and added at this time as well. I forgot to take pictures of the fish but trust me, the cheeks were lovely!

After the rice had softened the resting meats and veggies were added. So was the contents of the deglazed pan and the rest of the Guinness. I threw in a few diced tomatoes and a can of Italian diced tomatoes for good measure.

I set this all to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Now that all said, I would LOVE to have a Paella pan as I think it would keep the quantity from growing on me. It was delicious but I ended up with a huge stock pot of paella. Thank goodness for a foodsaver!!

BTW, the leftovers are delicious rolled up in a tortilla with a little cheese and fresh tomatoes :)

Click the links below to check out the rest of the beeps:

And her guest blogger!

Scroll down this page to see Martha's paella

Go ahead, give it a try! As you can see there are so many ways to make this dish.


Michele said...

It's so cool how each of our dishes are so different! I bet your addition of bacon gave it a wonderful smoky flavor! It looks wonderful! Leftovers may be good as enchiladas too!

Spryte said...

Wow! Your version is so different and still very similiar!! I LOVE the grilled veggies!!! It looks so tasty!!!

DutchBakerGirl said...

Another fantastic paella dish!

Karine said...

This paella sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

DDpie said...

Moni, I'm so grateful for your version. Here in the midwest, fresh seafood is hard to come by and when you do find it, it's expensive (and is it really "fresh" anyways? or just thawed out???) Anywho, I loved the improv, I'm so going to look for some sort of mixed bag now. Kuddos girl!

Bob said...

Great job. If I'm not mistaken paella is all about tossing in whatever you have, recipes are just guidelines. ;)

Unknown said...

Moni you did an awesome job! So glad you participated with us. :) I love how you grilled your chicken and veggies first! Makes it more of a summery dish. YUM

Shane T. Wingerd said...

Awesome Moni!!! I will have to try the soaking in the milk to remove the fishy smell... The roasted veggie idea was inspired... Love it!

The Moon Muse said...

Michele, Spryte, Cathy, Karine, and Bob. Thanks so much! I agree it is totally cool to see everyone's take on a dish.

DDpie, Danielle, and Shane - definately give the milk a try. It really works. On super fishy things I like to soak overnight. As far as the veggies, grilling them first adds so much to a dish.

Anonymous said...

Halibut cheeks are one of my favorites. They are the cooks treat in my opinion. They get cooked on the side when I find them.

Great take on paella. I too am wanting a paella pan.

The Moon Muse said...

Robert -

Yes, they are one of my favorites too. A cannery nearby where I work brings them over from time to time to help compensate for the stink they pipe into the air.

The cheeks soaked up all the flavors in this dish and were so tender and buttery. It was almost a waste to use them in this dish though. They were good but unless you knew what to look for you wouldn't know they were anything but good white fish.

I really need that paella pan. There are about 10 foodsaver bags of it in my freezer now.