Pine Street Paella
Ingredients:6 Chicken Thighs
18 Large Shrimp Shell on - de-veined
18 - 24 Large manila clams or Mussels (or a combination)
2 - 4 links Chorizo
3 cups medium grain rice
1 medium onion chopped
1 sweet red pepper chopped
saffron - generous pinch
chicken broth or hot water
Wedges of lemon
The quantities aren't exact and the all the ingredients aren't essential. Paella is basically a flavored rice. The essential flavor ingredients are sofrito, saffron and other flavorful ingredients. This rich paella includes chorizo, clams, shrimp, and chicken.
Several hours or the night before:
1. Marinate the chicken by sprinkling with kosher salt and pepper, minced garlic and olive oil. Store in refrigerator bringing it out to the counter about 1 hour before cooking to bring it up to room temperature.
2. I essentially make a camarones al mojo de ajo with the shrimp to make the shrimp very flavorful. Prepare the shrimp by pulling off the legs and deveining. (Note: I use Costco shrimp when available. It is already deveined.) Put the shrimp legs into a medium sauce pan and set aside for steaming the clams. Sprinkle the shrimp with kosher salt and let sit for about 30 minutes or more. Pat dry. Mince 6 cloves of garlic. Heat a saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the garlic and shrimp. Do not crowd the pan. Saute the shrimp until they turn pink and the shell is translucent. Under cook the shrimp as they will finish cooking when added to the rice. Set aside.
Begin Cooking about 1-1/2 hours before serving
3. Slice the chorizo on a diagonal. Set a well seasoned wok or paella pan on a medium fire and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the chorizo for a few minutes. Continue to saute until there are browned edges to the chorizo. Put sauteed chorizo into a bowl and set aside.
4.Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.4. In the same pan as the chorizo, saute the chicken pieces as the chorizo until browned and set aside.
5. Set the sauce pan with the shrimp legs over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the clams and mussels. Turn the heat down slightly and cover for 1 minute. After one minute check regularly. As soon as the the clams and mussels open, take them out individual and set in another bowl. Continue steaming until all live clams and mussels have opened. Clams and mussel that don't open are dead and should be discarded. Drain any liquid from the opened clams back into the broth and strain the contents to remove any sand and shrimp lets from the liquid using a fine strainer or cheesecloth into another bowl. Add enough hot water or chicken broth make about 2 cups of hot liquid. Add about 6 strands of saffron to the hot broth and set aside. The broth should turn bright yellow and will color the rice.
6. Prepare sofrito: Set pan on the medium fire again and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add minced garlic, chopped onion and chopped sweet red peppers to the pan. Saute gently until the mixture is soft and the onions are translucent.
7. Add the rice and stir occasionally. Take care not to burn the rice. Saute until the rice starts to become chalky.
8. At this time the pan will be very hot. Carefully add the hot saffron broth to the rice and stir. Liquid should cover the rice by about 1/2". Simmer for a minute and nestle the chicken thighs and chorizo slices into the rice in a circular pattern. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Check the mixture occasionally and add broth as needed and check the chicken. When the last bits of pink in the center of the chick thigh are starting to fade, add the clams and mussels to the top and sprinkle with the thawed frozen peas and sliced pimentos. Put covered paella pan or wok into the pre-heated oven and cook for another 15 minutes.until the liquid is absorbed to the top of the rice.
9. At this time the rice should be cooked, the peas still bright green, and everything should be hot. Take note of the timing of when everything went in. If something is not cooked to the right degree, then adjust the timing of the addition of that ingredient next time. Uncover, sprinkle with the capers, chopped parsley and serve with wedges of lemon.
Note: When properly made the bottom of the pan will have a crust of rice. It should be browned, but not burnt. When it sits at the table, it will soften slightly. Some guests love this part and scrape the bottom to get some.