Experimenting with Paella

The Englishman and I are both big fans of Spanish food (still looking for an amazing tapas spot in OC), so when we received a paella pan as a gift for Christmas, we couldn’t wait to break it in.

Our paella pan Christmas gift also included a paella cookbook and authentic paella rice (Bomba Rice to be exact) so we were good to go.  Now it was just a matter of finding the perfect recipe!  After pouring through the book we decided to combine a few recipes and make our own paella creation.

Paella isn’t the easiest of dishes to make, and you definitely need the right equipment (pan, rice, etc), but the end result is oh so delicious.  And the great thing about paella is you’ll have lot of leftovers to enjoy for days after!

Chicken, Eggplant, and Pork Paella  (adapted from the cookbook Paella! by Penelope Casas)

What You’ll Need:

A paella pan (ours came from Cost Plus World Market)

2 1/2 pound eggplants cut crosswise into 20 1/4 inch rounds

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon parsley

1 chicken breast

3 cups chicken stock (we used homemade stock)

1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron thread (you can get this at Trader Joe’s)

1/4 pound pork (chorizo is preferred if you can find it)

1 large onion

1 bay leaf

3 cups Spanish Rice (Bomba is great)

2 cups chopped green beans

2 cups chopped mushrooms

Salt and Pepper to taste

We like to keep it organized over here so we portioned everything into containers so it was easy to find and add as we went along.

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350F

Take your pork and roll into little balls (like meatballs) and place in a baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Pull pork out of the oven and reset oven to 425F.

Wash your eggplant slices and sprinkle with salt.  Use paper towels to pat them dry so there is no excess liquid.  Place eggplant slices on a greased baking shit and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the eggplant is baking in the oven, cut your chicken breast into small pieces and place in an oil coated paella pan.  Sautee the chicken pieces in the paella pan on high heat for roughly 5-7 minutes leaving the chicken pieces slightly undercooked.  Add your green beans, onion, bay leaf, and mushroom and cook on a medium-low heat for an additional 20 minutes.  Don’t forget to pull your eggplant out of the oven!

Now it’s time to add your rice.  Your authentic Bomba rice.

I promise I will stop waxing poetic about the Bomba rice, but it was really the perfect paella rice.  Get it in your pantry now.

Anyway back to the directions. Discard your bay leaf and add in your rice to the pan and coat well with the chicken and vegetables.  Pour in the chicken stock and saffron mixture and bring to a boil.  Stir the mixture until the rice is no longer soupy (this will take about 5 minutes).  Add in the eggplant and pork.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Continue to let the rice cook in the pan until it is soft and no longer crunchy (this could take about 10-20 minutes) and is just simmering in the pan.  Let the pan cool for a few minutes and dig in and enjoy!

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