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Notes on a Paella Recipe


This is the recipe I've been using for paella. It often turns out well, and everyone seems to enjoy it when I make it.  That said, it's a very poorly-written recipe. It always takes at least twice as long as the recipe indicates, I always have to cook the clams (and sometimes the mussels) separately, and if you follow their directions and add the shrimp and veggies first, they will both be overcooked. The flavors are solid, however, and it's perfect for a crowd. Here are some of my notes on how to improve it.

Ingredients: 1) If you've got lobster stock, use that in place of chicken stock. It's just better.  2) Use dried chorizo, not fresh, as it adds a much heartier, smokier flavor. 3) Skip the red peppers unless you really like them. 4) When asparagus and snap peas aren't in season, substitute frozen peas. Toss them in for the last 5 minutes of cooking. 5) If you want, you can throw some chicken thigh pieces into the mix. Cut them up into about 2 inch chunks, give them a dose of salt & pepper, and brown lightly in olive oil. Cook them along with the rice in the oven as indicated below.

Technique: 1) Recipe is fine for all the pieces you can prep ahead of time, and I encourage you to do so. This saves time in the end, which is especially good if you don't want to be in the kitchen as much while company is over. Make about a cup more broth than the recipe indicates. 2) Combine the broth and rice as written. 3) This is where I'm going to break off from the recipe.  I'd say that it probably takes 30-45 minutes in the oven rather than the 15-20 indicated. Taste as you go until it seems to be the right consistency, or a tad under. 4) Use the additional cup of broth to steam the clams/mussels -- adding in that order -- separately from the rice. Cook them until they open. Do this when the rice just about done. 5) Add shrimp and veggies at the very end -- maybe even after you've taken it out of the oven and are letting it sit covered. The residual heat will cook them. You can tuck the cooked clams and mussels in at this point too.

Also note -- the recipe probably makes enough for 8-10, not 6. I'll keep reworking it . . .

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