Thursday, October 8, 2009


I got to do a great event last night - some business friends Phil and Natasha had a party and asked me to come and make Paella. What a great thing it was. I don’t always get to be out in the kitchen as much as I would like and I was there in the middle of the party cooking where the guests could watch.

Paella is a classic Spanish rice dish that is made open style, you never actually cover it. For this event I made it with Chicken Thighs, Sausage, Peas, Roasted Peppers and Artichokes. It is often combined with many seafoods. One of the key ingredients is saffron - one of my absolutely favorite spices - every time I cook with it I have to start with sniffing the bag for the beautiful aromas - who says cooking is not addictive.

For cooking heat I used an outdoor propane burner (much like that for a crab boil or deep fried turkey) and a large heavy skillet with slanted sides.

For 40 guests I used
15 lbs chicken thighs cut and rubbed with ½ cup paprika, ½ cup granulated garlic, salt and pepper. I did this earlier in the day and allowed it to rest for 3 hours.

2 cups olive oil
Brown together; brown in small batches, and as it is done push it up the sides of the pan away from the hottest part of the pan.

2 cups chopped garlic
1 tsp saffron
Place in the center of the pan and sauté

3 large Spanish onions - diced
Add to garlic and sauté
Once done spoon over the chicken up the sides of the pan

5 lbs sausage - chopped to bite sized (you can use anything you like here, often chorizo is used but a milder one is just fine)
Place into the center of the pan and brown slightly. As you can tell your cooking area is the center of the pan with the sides being a holding area. Once browned bring all ingredients back into the center of the pan and mix together well.

10 cups of rice - a medium grain rice that holds well (for ease on an outdoor event I used Uncle Bens)

By tradition the rice is poured on in a cross format, ostensibly honoring JC given Spain’s Christian background, but from a cooks perspective it offers a good visual add for anyone who cooks paella regularly as to how much rice to put in (saves that pesky measuring step). I suggest you measure it for the first 50 batches or so.
Then stir it into the to the meat mixture, making sure the rice is mixed in well and covered by the other ingredients.

Turn the heat down to med-low

Add in 4 cups of chicken broth at a time (16 cups total)
Each time making sure to stir well bringing the outside edges in
Allow to simmer till only moist

When the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed add in your garnishes. I used
2 lbs Frozen Peas
4 cups Artichoke Hearts
Stir well

Garnish with strips of Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped Parsley
 and Lemon wedges.


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