A Perfect Paella

I had my first paella when I studied a semester in Spain, but it wasn’t until Jan saw it prepared multiple times on Top Chef that he quickly followed suit and we enjoyed this delicious dish together, many years later.

By now, Jan’s a paella expert, and he’s got his recipe perfected. Because the ingredients are basically mixed together and left to cook, following the proportions of rice and broth are important in creating perfectly cooked rice with a creamy consistency.

The concept of the dish is simple, and yet it makes for a sophisticated presentation. I’m always wowed by the aroma, the deep yellow color of the rice, and the abundance of seafood that seems to always be spilling over the pan.

We’ve seen special paella pans marketed to chefs at cookware shops, but a large sauté pan with a lid will do the job equally well. We start by browning the chicken in the pan, removing, and browning onions, garlic and bell peppers. The rice is added, then the chicken stock, and placed in the oven to cook. After about 20 minutes, the chicken is added back on top of the rice, along with the other meat and seafood desired. We cook this another 10-15 minutes in the oven, then add the shellfish and pop back into the oven until they open up.

Step one, choose your pan and brown the chicken
Remove chicken, brown peppers, garlic and onions, then add rice
Add broth, and then into the oven
Getting close!
After the addition of the colorful clams

We like to serve the paella family style so we can ooh and ahh over the contents of the big colorful pan. Serve along with a simple salad, with bread and butter on the side.


Jan’s Easy Paella

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Info

Serves 4

Cook + prep time: 1 hour

*Saffron is an essential ingredient in this dish.  It seems expensive but it goes a long way since you don’t have to use too much of it. It can be found at Whole Foods, World Market or online on Amazon.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound boneless chicken thighs or breast pieces
  • ½ pound large raw peeled shrimp
  • 1 hot link (cut into ¼” pieces)
  • 1 pound thawed frozen clams (I buy frozen pre-cooked clams found in most mega mart’s fish department)
  • 1 medium onion (medium dice)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 oz. long grained rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pinch saffron*
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a oven safe sauté pan with lid.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and sauté.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and set aside, and in the same pan, sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers.
  5. Add rice and sauté until translucent.
  6. In a separate dish, warm chicken stock and add the saffron to the warm chicken stock. Pour over rice and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover and place in oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Add shrimp, cooked chicken and hot link pieces to pan and cook in the oven, (covered) for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Add clams and cook in the oven uncovered until clams have opened (approximately 5 minutes).

Blueberry-Cream Cheese Dumplings

Since Jan and I both love a good sale, sometimes we come home with a lot of a certain ingredient. Because it was such a good deal, right? This week it was blueberries, and after deciding on French toast topped with blueberries for breakfast, I pondered what my next blueberry dish should be. And then the answer literally fell right in front of me. Opening up the refrigerator to get the butter for frying my French toast, out tumbled a package of light cream cheese. Continue reading

Why Sous Vide is Not for Me

Several months ago, we began an exploration into the world of sous vide, a cooking technique that involves cooking foods at a low temperature in a vacuum-sealed bag. Our first dinner cooked this way was chronicled in This meal brought to you by sous vide. I’d promised to write more about our sous vide meals, but we quickly figured that this method of cooking wasn’t for us. For some explanation as to why, please welcome the first post written by Jan.
~Anna

When I started this trip into one form of molecular gastronomy, I was quite exited even though I had my reservations. I did lots of research and did not find much information, which I found rather strange. Continue reading

Devilishly Disco Eggs

The other day, I heard that deviled eggs were, like, so seventies. But, as they’ve recently made their first appearance in our house, they’re new to me. And I’d say pretty tasty too.

But do deviled eggs really need updating from this retro-dish status? Can’t we just leave a classic dish alone? When it comes to fashion trends, I always say, if you wore it the first time it was in style, you’re excluded from wearing it when it comes back. Phew! I’m saved from side ponytails and scruchy socks. And since I wasn’t around in the seventies to eat deviled eggs during their heyday, I think I’m ok to make them now.

I made a batch as an appetizer and modernized them my own way, by slicing the eggs in half with the wavy slicer used to give vegetable slices a corrugated appearance. Voila! Sufficiently 2010. And when one of my dinner guests who hails from the South described the dish as Southern—not seventies—I had a new way to think about deviled eggs.

I added horseradish to mine for some kick, and also tried out another technique picked up from the Food Network: impromptu piping bag. I put the egg filling in a plastic bag, cut the end, and was able to create clean-looking deviled eggs! (Which is definitely an improvement over my usual messy spoon technique.)

Clean technique

Zesty deviled eggs

Print recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 green onion stick, diced
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika

Directions

  1. Hard boil eggs in a pot. My trick for perfectly cooked eggs: place the eggs with a dash of salt in the pan, with enough water to cover the eggs. Cover with the lid and place over high heat until the water is boiling. Remove pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover, pour out water into the sink, and allow cool water to run through the pot for several minutes to cool the eggs. Remove the shells right away, otherwise they will stick to the eggs and be much more difficult to remove.
  2. Slice eggs in half, remove the yolks and place in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. To egg yolks, add mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, horseradish, salt and pepper, and combine.
  4. Use a spoon or piping bag to return the mixture to the cavity of the egg whites.
  5. Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with paprika.

Turkey Tamales on Taste Fresno

Turkey tamales worth shouting about

Back in June I wrote about making tamales with my dad (Time for tamales) and my reticence to tackle making them on my own. I’m pleased to report that over Thanksgiving break Jan and I finally made them ourselves without an expert looking on! After cooking all afternoon and into the evening, wondering how they would turn out, we tasted and they were a success! Read about the process in my first guest blog for Taste Fresno here: Thankful for Turkey Tamales.