Sunday, February 20, 2011

Paella Night

  Last month, Mitchell surprised me by coming in town.  For a date night, we went to a cooking class where we learned how to make Paella  See below...

For those of you who don't know, paella is a traditional Spanish dish.   Historically speaking, the dish originated in the region of Valencia, Spain where people began cooking rice with various meats over an open fire.  The word paella itself is the word Valencians use for all pans.  The term paella is more commonly known as the items that are made in a special shallow pan.  It typically consists of rice, saffron, seafood, chicken and other various spices.  In 1800s, poorer Spainards were known to put snails in the dish due to lack of access to other various meats.  Lucky for you... we skipped on the snails when we made the dish. 

--> This recipe serves 6 (we made 1.5 times this recipe)
1/4 cup extra-virign olive oil
6 jumbo shrimps, unpeeled
12 medium shrimp, unpeeled
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and grated
3 cloves garrlic, peeled and minced
1 large pinch saffron threads
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 lb fresh Italian style broad green beans, cut into 2" inch pieces
Freshly ground Black Pepper
3 cups Spanish Paella rice or short grain Italian rice
12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
6 Chicken Thighs (with skin)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Heat oil in a 16" or 18" paella pan or large skillet over medium heat.  Pan will span two burners; rotate occasionally for even cooking.  Add all shrimp, saute for 5 minutes, then remove and set aside. 
3. Take chicken and cover with salt and pepper.  Place chicken in paella pan and cook until brown on each side.  (Approximately 4 minutes on each side).  Then take chicken off the paella pan and place chicken in a preheated oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes. (Until completely cooked through)
4. In the meantime, while the chicken cooks, reduce the heat of the oil on the paella pan and add garlic and tomatoes t oil in pan.  Cook for 3-5 minutes
5. Place saffron in foil.  Then toast saffron in a small skillet over medium heat for 1 minute.  Crumble into 5-6 cups of water.  (You will need more water...add as needed later)
6. Add water to the pan.  Stir rice into pan, then add mussels and press down to submerge in liquid as much as possible.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook, whout stirring, until rice begins to swell, about 10 minutes.  Discard mussels that do not open. 
7. Place chicken, shrimp and green beans on top of rice, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover with a clean dish towl, and let cool for 20 minutes.  Serve from pan at room temperature.

Overall, the cooking class we took was a success.  I highly recommend Urban Chef here in Houston where we took the class.  It was a very fun experience where I learned a lot of cooking tips and some new techniques.