So, we’re doing a small, mini-unit about Spain and Spanish vocabulary in our homeschool this month (more on that in a post coming soon), and when I discovered one of the vocabulary words was “paella,” I decided we would make that for supper one night. I’ve always wanted to make paella anyway, so this seemed like the perfect time. And then I discovered that saffron, a main spice in Spanish paella, was $17 a bottle at my local grocery store. I about fell over in the aisle when I saw that price, let me tell you! But I already had my heart and mind set on making this dish, so I told my grocery budget to shove it for the week and went ahead and bought the saffron.
In searching for a recipe, I discovered there are all kinds of variations on paella; people use different meats, seafood, vegetables and even grains (different types of rice, even quinoa). I made mine by following the gist of this recipe at the Global Table Adventure blog. I liked the tutorial she had (and she even warned readers about the cost of saffron, but I guess I just assumed high would be around $10. Live and learn.). My variations on content of paella include chicken rather than sausage, and lots more shrimp. I also didn’t have a lemon on hand, but would love to see how that flavor works out if we make this again. Oh, and in place of a paella pan, I just used the largest skillet we had. I think it’s a 10-inch.
Be warned, this recipe made a ton of paella. We had a lot left over after our family of four chowed down. Even though it was really good, this will basically go on my “company-only” list to make sure we don’t waste any of it. We did have leftovers one night a couple nights after our first meal, but I still had to toss out a good bit of rice/peas because I didn’t want to risk reheating again, and all the meat was eaten. By the way, for parents of young children: the first night, my two seemed less than thrilled with this meal, although my daughter ended up eating most of her portion. But on the leftovers night, we heated up tortillas and put some of the paella in it, and they both ate up two “burritos” of it that way. So, just a tip if you need help with getting your kids to eat this. Never mind that I’ve probably just insulted generations of Spaniards by just suggesting the idea.
I’ll reprise the Global Table Adventure blog’s recipe here, modified with my adjustments. I think if we decide to make it again, I’ll probably try out the sausage in it instead of the chicken. I think the extra spice would do it good; my husband ended up adding some cayene pepper to his servings, as he likes food spicy.
4 cups chicken stock
1 large pinch saffron
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 boneless chicken tenderloins
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper
1 heaping cup frozen peas
2 cups long grain rice
1 bag frozen medium shrimp
Parsley (from our tiered herb garden)
Add the stock, saffron, salt, and pepper to a pot and heat until very hot. Keep hot. Meanwhile, slice chicken tenderloins into about one-inch pieces and saute.
Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil, then add the paprika, cooked chicken and frozen peas. Stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper.
Add the hot broth and bring to a boil. Give it one last stir, then don’t touch it again! Reduce the heat and let simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Lightly saute shrimp, then add to the paella during the last 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover with a towel for a few minutes. This will help any straggler grains of rice cook through. Serve with a garnish of parsley.