Jim’s Seafood Paella
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 bacon slices, chopped
- 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups long-grain, medium grain or arborio white [can make with 3 cups rice – if so, adjust the liquids]
- 1 7-ounce jar roasted sliced pimientos with juice
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
- 2 cups bottled clam juice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
- [Use the amount of liquids needed for the amount of rice being cooked, rather than using the exact amounts listed above. Be sure to count the amount of juice from the pimentos.]
- 1 3 1/2-pound whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces (cut each breast in half)
- 1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 1 pound cleaned squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings
- 1 dozen clams, scrubbed
- 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed, debearded
- 5 oz. chorizo dried sausage
- 1 pound Italian sausage (degree of spiciness that suits you)
- ½ pound fresh asparagus, blanched
- 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- Lemon wedges
If cutting up chickens, save backs, necks and gizzards to make chicken stock for the paella – flavor as for chicken soup, but triple the flavorings
Preparation (takes approx 2 hr 15 minutes prep and cooking time if everything is already chopped – does not include the amount of time for the stock to cook)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Make shrimp stock (just enough water to cover shells, simmer about 8 minutes, crush shells with potato masher occasionally). Strain and reserve shrimp and chicken stock. Measure rice.
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Set aside.
Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pot and cook over medium heat until brown, about 3 minutes per side [chicken will later cook 45 minutes with rice]. Using tongs, remove chicken from pot. If you are adding sausage, brown this now, except the dry chorizo sausage, which is not browned. Remove and reserve the sausage. Add it when you add the chicken.
Add chopped onions and garlic to pot and sauté until beginning to brown, scraping up any browned bits, about 10 minutes. Remove the oil if it looks like it would make the paella too oily. [If you need to delay cooking the paella, do it after sautéing the vegetables, before proceeding to the rice stage.]
Stir in rice, most of the roasted pimientos with juices and saffron. Reserve some pimentos for garnish. Add clam juice and chicken stock [and shrimp stock and pimento juice] to pot and bring mixture to simmer. Remove from heat.
[45 minutes before serving] Pour rice mixture into 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish, larger if you included all the types of seafood. Arrange chicken, clams and sausage in rice mixture. Sprinkle with half of the chopped bacon. Cover with foil and put in the oven. [If you are cooking it in a large pan, you can leave in the pan rather than transferring to the baking dish.]
Rinse and blanch asparagus. Slice pimentos/pepper, if needed.
About 10 or 15 minutes before done, depending on size of shrimp, add shrimp, squid, asparagus, roasted red pepper, mussels, peas and the reserved bacon garnish. Bury most of shrimp in the rice, garnish with a few shrimp on top, and with the asparagus and roasted red pepper.
Bake paella until chicken is cooked through, clams and mussels open, rice is tender, and shrimp, squid and asparagus are cooked – about 45 minutes total. Discard any clams and mussels that do not open. Remove foil from baking dish.
Let paella stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and squeeze lemon over each serving to really bring out the flavor.