I am breaking in my new paella dish today by making a chicken and chorzio paella. Every recipe I looked at was different in technique and style, so I just combined them! I am making a sofritto/tomato base (combined from recipes from Jose Andres and Judy Rogers’ books) by grating tomato halves and discarding the skins, then I thinly sliced onions on the mandoline, then minced them finely. I sauteed the onions in some olive oil, added some garlic slices, ground saffron, bay leaf, chili de arbol and S&P. Then I added the tomatoes sweet paprika and smoked paprika, and a pinch of sugar and cooked all the water out.
I borrowed my next move from the Spanish caterers at our wedding reception. I heated some oil, put in some whole garlic cloves, large pieces of red bell pepper (poquillos are best, but I didn’t have any) and I browned the chicken legs with it. I removed the garlic, mashed it into a paste, and I peeled and sliced the bell peppers. I added the rice (Spanish Bomba rice is recommended, I used short grain Cal Rose rice), and chicken stock (to which I added some saffron), the garlic and peppers, and slices of real Spanish chorizo.
By the way: it was almost halftime in a friendly match between the Spanish national soccer team and Argentina. Argentina was in the lead, 3-0. As I am trying not to stir the paella (which was futile), Luis is yelling lots of colorful Spanish phrases at the TV that we have not yet learned in class.
In the end, the paella tasted fantastic, but was far from a perfect one. Here were my problems: I think the pan was a little too big for one burner, and too small for two. With one burner, the outside rice didn’t cook as quickly as the center. With two burners, I ended up with two hotspots instead of one. I broke one of the paella rules, I stirred. Several times. What I ended up with was an almost risotto like consistency, with lots of tasty brown bits on the bottom. Any suggestions?