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Paella on the Grill

One of my favorite dishes to make is paella. Originally paella was a dish made in Valencia using chicken, rabbit, snails and three kinds of fresh beans. Now, paella is almost always associated with seafood, chicken and vegetables. There is no right or wrong recipe, only the recipe that pleases you so you can add any combination of protein your heart desires. The dish was named after the pan it is cooked in, a Paellera, which is also used for a variety of rice dishes, such as arroz negro, as well as the Spanish pasta dish: fideua.

This is only one recipe I usually do this on the grill because my paella pan is too big for my glass top. You can do this on the stove or the oven.

½ cup uncooked Valencian Rice per person or 1/3 cup if using Bomba
cup chicken stock per person
threads saffron dissolved in chicken stock (you can substitute 2 package sazon con azfran)

½ cup of red wine
2 pieces of bacon (or 2 tablespoons, or more, olive oil, to cover bottom of pan)
package of chicken drumettes
chorizo or andouille sausage
teaspoon smoke paprika
clove garlic per person, minced
¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green or red bell peppers
 cup chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of sofrito
2 shrimp or prawns per person
2 tbl spoons Adobo seasoning

red piquillo peppers cut in strips
sweet peas
lemon wedges for garnish
salt to taste

Heat stock in a separate stock pot. Crush saffron and add it to stock or a little bit of white wine. Heat paella pan (pan) over medium heat, add bacon to render fat when bacon is done remove bacon and leave fat in pan. Season chicken drumettes with salt and pepper and fry chicken until it begins to brown. Remove chicken and set aside.  Next add peppers, garlic and onions and sauté until translucent. Add sausage and cook until heated. Add the rice, stirring until well coated with oil. Add the sofrito, paprika and chopped tomatoes. Stir while cooking for a few minutes. Add saffron flavored broth. Bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of pan. Add Adobe Seasoning and taste. Add green peas and piquillo peppers. Add red wine. Stir.  Now the rice should be level and you will not need to stir from this point on. Place Chicken drumettes in rice tucking them around the pan. Adjust heat to maintain a nice simmer. (At this point I like to cover my pan. You can use aluminum foil. Just to make sure the chicken is cooked through.)

Once the rice is just cooked add the shrimp or prawns tucking them down into the rice. During this time the rice should be caramelizing on the bottom of the pan or creating what is called the socarrat. It will make a faint crackling sound and smell toasty sweet but not burnt. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

OVEN You can also use an oven if you find that your pan is too large to cook on the stove top, even with occasionally moving the pan around on the burner(s). Begin your recipe on the stove top but after adding the liquid carefully move your paella pan into the oven (350̊-400̊). Once rice is done return it to the stove top to create the caramelized layer of rice on the bottom of the pan.

*Paelleras can also be used over an open fire or on a counter-top grill.*

SEASONING A CARBON STEEL PAN Treat carbon steel Paelleras as you would a Chinese wok or cast iron skillet. Before using the first time, boil water in it to remove dirt and label glue. Dry thoroughly! Coat both sides with olive oil and heat the pan up until the oil browns. Re-oil lightly after each use. Never leave water in the pan as it may rust. If rust appears it can usually be wiped off with oil but if necessary use emery cloth and oil to clean off the rust down to shiny, bare metal, and then re-season the pan.

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