Paella is a wonderful rice dish originating in Spain. Tradition says it was a dish of leftovers, often containing a mixture of meats, seafood and vegetables. It's not necessary to include all these ingredients because paella is a flexible dish. You can use the ingredients you like best; for example, mussels are often included in recipes, but if you don't like mussels just omit them and add something you like better. This allows you to adapt this beautiful recipe to the dietary preferences of your guests and yourself. I've included a recipe I've used a number of times with great success. A paella pan is worth the investment since it is also used to serve this attractive-looking dish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the clams thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold running water and set them aside on a plate with the shrimp. Slice the sausage into 1/2 inch round pieces. Spray a fry pan with vegetable spray, add 1 tsp oil and sauté the sausage until browned. If necessary, drain on paper towel. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and cut each thigh in two. In the same skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and sauté well, turning with tongs to brown evenly. Remove chicken to a separate plate. Chop onion and mince garlic , cut the pepper into strips and chop the tomato. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to skillet and sauté onions, pepper strips, and tomato over medium heat until vegetables have softened In a paella pan, combine the onion/pepper mixture, rice, salt, and saffron. Pour in 6 cups boiling water stirring constantly. Arrange meats and seafood on rice and scatter peas. Do not stir again once arranged. Set pan on the bottom rack in the oven and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Remove paella when done, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with lemon
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