Paella

Its beginning to look a lot like spring time! With temperatures around 17 degrees I even start to dream of summer.
This week I was able to drink a glass of rose while I was chatting with a friend on the phone while wearing a T-shirt and sitting in my garden looking at the daffodils.
We went for an evening walk in our town and I did not have to whine that I was cold once.
That little bit of sun and warmth was just in time, because I was really tired of that never ending snowy winter. At the beginning of winter I am always over the top with joy because its time for delicious stews and heart warming pans full of fat meat to get us trough winter. But after a while I start to long for those light, flavourful sunny dishes that resemble the summer in my kitchen.
The husband came home with the idea to make a fresh paella. The last paella I actually made myself is dated back in 1999 when I spend my summer in Andalusia and the entertainment guys from the hotel seduced me into some outdoor cooking by the pool. The chef of the hotel gave me some wonderful tips on how to cook an authentic Andalusian paella… but time has erased them from my memory.
Paella brings back such a warm memories to me. It makes me remember the lunch breaks I had with my friend Karen on the grass by the museum of classic arts when she brought left over paella and we had it cold with just some bread.
It takes me back to a vacation from hell the hubby and I had in Mallorca when we were still dating. The hotel came out of a horror movie, the area was full of drunk and high teenagers and the food was just horrible. Luckily we found a little restaurant 30 minutes away from our hotel that served a killer paella. (It was also the only thing that little restaurant served.) 7 nights in a row we walked down there to indulge ourselves in their lovely paella. The chef even felt sorry for us and tried to serve us a different paella everyday. We enjoyed it all… it were wonderful night on the terrace of that little restaurant, just the two of us, the candles and the paella.

INGREDIENTS

200 grams of paella rice ( I used arroz bomba from the brand La fallera)
200 grams of mixed fruits de me (I used mussels, cuttlefish and various clams.)
1 chicken breast
6 chicken wings
10 large prawns
100 grams hot chorizo
4 gloves of garlic
1 onion
1 red bell pepper cut into fine stripes
125 grams of pealed chopped tomatos
100 grams of peas
8 tablespoons of olive oil
500 ml of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of paella herb mix
1 teaspoon of cayennepepper
1 lemon

Wash the mussels and the clams with cold water.
Boil them till they are nearly done. (Don’t cook them all the way trough, cause they ll go into the paella and will be cooked a little more.)
Now heat a little bit of olive oil into the paella pan and bake the chicken cubes and the chicken wings shortly. They just need to get a little color.
Take the chicken out and throw in the cuttlefish and the shrimps. Again, cook them quick and set them aside together with the chicken.
Now heat the rest of the olive oil in the paella pan. When the oil is hot add the finely chopped onion and garlic. When the onion is nearly cooked at the bell pepper and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Now its time to add the chorizo cubes, the tomato and the peas. Season this with the cayenne pepper and the paella herb mix. Give it a good swirl with a wooden spoon so all the flavours combine.
Now add the rice to the pan and poor in some chicken stock. The rice should be just under the stock, so don’t add to much stock at once.
Turn the fire down to medium low heat and let this simmer for about 15 minutes. Check it regularly so your rice does not burn.
After 15 minutes place the chicken cubes and the fruits de mer on top of the rice. Try to mix them in, without stirring the rice. Now add some more stock and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Depending on what rice you are using it might be necessary to add more or less stock.
After 10 minutes it is time to place the large shrimps and the chicken wings on top of the rice. If necessary poor in a little more stock and cover the paella with a piece of newspaper or some aluminium foil. Let this simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Just before serving decorate your paella with the lemon and if you like some finely chopped parsley.

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