Big Joe shares his favorite paella recipe
I’m a fan of paella. It’s a dish that is cooked in one pot, and served on one dish and served in the center of the table to be shared with family and friends. It’s a dinner that takes time to eat so that you slowly enjoy the many ingredients. The inviting selection of meat and fish in the paella is great. Bob Volpe from Monroe Township sent me his extraordinary recipe and I thank him. It was so good, his recipe ended up in my first cookbook. I like this one dish dinner to be served around a table outside in the summer and served with a big pitcher or two of your favorite sangria. Thanks again Bob for a great recipe. Now enjoy!
3 pounds chicken pieces on the bone (legs, thighs, breast and wings)
2 dozen mussels
2 dozen clams
6 small lobster tails (Optional)
1 piece of Chorizo sausage
2 pounds shrimp peeled and de-veined
2 pounds calamari
5 cups of white rice (not minute rice)
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of saffron
2 large cans of chicken broth (32 ozs each)
6 cloves garlic
4 packets of Sazon with Azafran (condiment found in the Mexican section of grocery stores)
In a 4 Quart saucepan, add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and the garlic cloves. Just brown the garlic being careful not to burn it. Add the 2 quarts of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the Goya Sazon and salt and pepper to taste. Keep it simmering while the next step is performed.
In a rather large frying pan, add the olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Wash the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the oil until they have a sufficient amount of color (not fully cooked inside). Add the chorizo sausage, cut into 1/4\" pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the calamari and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the rice to the mixture and the saffron. (About 4 stems of saffron should be enough). Add more if a darker color of rice is wanted.
Now start ladling the broth into the frying pan and stirring the rice mixture. (This is as you would do if you were making a risotto) As the broth dries up, add a little more. Keep doing this until the rice is nearly cooked. Just before the rice is fully cooked, add the shrimp and lobster tails, if used. Cover the pot and have the shrimp and lobster cook.
Check and keep adding the broth to prevent the rice from burning. When the shrimp and lobster turn red, add the clams and mussels and again close the lid so they steam and their juices further. Serve immediately and enjoy. Serves 10-12 people.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.