Paella Month is almost over

From Big ‘Dawg Eats

July is Paella Month.  At least according to the website where i order all my authentic spanish junk.  Maybe they made it up.  Maybe the Fed proclaimed it as such (obviously part of the current national debt problem).  Regardless, who am i to dispute the merits of paella month.  I have been known to make a mean paella, and would love to recognize a month dedicated to such an endeavor.  In fact, i have friends and relatives reading this very post that would claim it takes me a month to make a paella.  To them i say, “perfección lleva tiempo”, or “perfection takes time”.

Two things come to mind with the whole paella month thing, (1) the $100 gift card for the best paella picture submitted to, and (2) the fact that you heat up your entire kitchen making paella, unless you do it outside.  When i go to the beach, i make it on a propane burner outside.  Inside at home in the summer, a faster version makes a world of difference.  This week, i concocted such a beast, and cooked it in less than 2 hours.  For paella enthusiasts, and the poor souls who have suffered through my paella preparations, this is no feat to dismiss.  Paella is about fresh local ingredients, so there are thousands of variations.  I cooked a chicken and sausage (the simplest) paella in about 1.75 hours that was pretty darn good.  The key to this recipe is to get your mise setup for the paella progression:  (1) brown the meat in oil and remove, (2) carmelize root veggies (onions, garlic) (3) dump in the short grain rice (bomba, callaspara, or arborio work best), let it pop for about 60 seconds, the (4) pour in liquid equal to 3 times the volume of rice [Side NOTE:  my liquid was a shrimp stock, which I made from shells that i had in the freezer – a tip that everyone should follow whenever peeling raw shrimp – always save the shells and freeze them], and some fresh tomatoes (5) replace the meat, half buried in the liquid (6) let the liquid cook down, then place any fresh veggies on top (heirloom pear tomatoes, fresh soybeans) for the last few minutes to steam, garnish with fresh herbs (basil).

And the last reason why you should love paella – one of Jose Andres’ chefs is making a giant (as in 6-foot pan giant) paella for La Tienda in Williamsburg, VA on July 3oth. 

NOTE to readers – if you have a picture of a paella that i have made, send it to me so i can submit and win that gift card.  I promise I’ll make you a paella if it wins.


4 thoughts on “Paella Month is almost over

  1. I personally think you’re an @#$#@$ #@$@#$@#$ @#$#$@ for not cooking it for a tailgate. That smell and just the art of cooking it would have had all of North Campus headed our way.

    • A valid point Mr. Haddock. Although I probably would have needed a 6-foot pan for that crowd. Maybe this year.

  2. Great post, I guess there’s no reason you couldn’t make it on the grill, right? It’s just a matter of having the right pan. Very similar to the risotto technique, although a little scorch is a good thing. Had a “Spanish” restaurant here that served a gumbo and called it paella. Clearly not the same thing.

    • I’ve never tried it on the grill. The problems i see are (1) the pan may not fit – mine is 19 inches and feeds about six people – it barely fits in my oven when i need to, and the burners on my range are alomst too small, (2) paella is typically cooked with direct heat and rarely gets covered, so the lid on your grill would always be open, which would prabably require more charcoal . I only cover with foil, or throw in the oven when adding shrimp or mussels at the end. This is one reason for the “scorch” (“socrat” in spanish) which is considered a delicacy.

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