Paella por favor?

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the paella - just about ready to eat!

the paella – just about ready to eat!

I have been spending TONS of time working on a published book for my blog – just for me to have it as a hardcopy to look at on a future rainy day with the children.  It hasn’t been much active work yet, but for each of the sites I’m trying out, I need to upload or download lots of pictures and information which clogs up my laptop, making blogging or doing anything else online (or even things offline) rather impossible on my recently-slowing-down MacBook Air (I think my harddrive is on its way out again.)  Typing this now, my cursor freezes up every ten seconds or so.  Translation: I will keep today’s entry as short and sweet as possible. 🙂

found on our front porch the other day after a lot of rain!

found on our front porch the other day after a lot of rain!

the dude, looking supercute.

the dude, looking supercute.

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Gabriel and Greer "snuggling"

Gabriel and Greer “snuggling”

I’ve felt like, since the weekend, recovering from all the craziness has been my highest priority – catching up on sleep, dishes, laundry, and housework!   Both runs this week have been less than stellar – 4 miles on Monday, during which I embedded something in my right foot just before the 2 mile point, and 3.5 miles on Wednesday for which “pushing it” resulted in a 9:29 minute mile (as opposed to my 8-minute miles last week that didn’t even seem very tough.)  Granted, those four miles a few days ago were all on asphalt, and I had to run even more “gently” once that thing was in my foot (I eventually got it out around 6pm – either a tiny piece of glass or a very light-colored sharp pebble), meaning I bent my knees even more with each step to cushion my foot-falls.  So by Wednesday, it took only a few minutes of running on a road again (I ran on the “sidewalk” that goes off the base, but right when it meets the main road after leaving our neighborhood, it turns into the type of paving found on the road.)  to start feeling it in my hip flexors and my quads.  At least it’s not my feet limiting me at this point. 🙂

Now, on to the recipe…

Guests from church (aka: playthings for our kids) Tripp manning the stove and Matthew, who was de-shelling the lobster claws

Guests from church (aka: playthings for our kids) Tripp manning the stove and Matthew, who was de-shelling the lobster claws

For years, I’ve been pulling out the worn and stained pages rescued from an old copy of Martha Stewart Living (that’s a link to one of her many paella recipes – can’t find the one I actually have) when I’ve wanted Paella.  I also use bits and pieces of the Chesapeake Bay Paella found in Tide and Thyme, which I’ve referenced before in other recipes.  Since these are long recipes, I’ve condensed them as much as possible, combined and eliminated things, and what’s resulted is my own recipe.

I haven’t made paella (a Spanish rice-seafood-meat dish) in a few years, and all these people on Sundays filling our table (and our couches, and our carpet, and the folding stools) gave me a craving (and an excuse to satisfy it) for paella, which is traditionally cooked for at least 8-10 people in a giant paella pan.  I decided to use brown rice this time, and it took close to…forever.  (It actually should have taken FOREVER, but I cut it off and served it when parts of it were still a bit crunchy.)  I think rather than making it with white rice in the future, I would use “parboiled” brown rice.  Either that or just make it all the night before, adding plenty of broth and giving it enough time to cook slowly and thoroughly. (I cooked one pan of it the night before because one of the guests couldn’t eat shrimp, and I wouldn’t have had time on Sunday afternoon to do it since the big paella pan took up the whole stovetop.  That pan had more time and turned out much better, in my opinion.)
prepping the seafood marinade

prepping the seafood marinade

shrimp and scallops marinating

shrimp and scallops marinating

Chicken and Seafood Paella

Chicken Marinade

1 lb Chicken breasts
1 lb Chicken thighs

cut it up into large bite-sized pieces:

1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup wine
1/3 cup soy sauce (or beef broth)
1/3 cup lime juice
Seafood Marinade-
1 1/2 lbs scallops (cut up if big)
1 1/2 lbs shrimp, uncooked
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3/4 cups mayonnaise
8 cloves crushed garlic
Other meats-
1/2 pound pork loin, cut in cubes
1/2 pound chorizo, squished out of its skin
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced garlic
3 bell peppers, cut in strips
1 cup peas (I use frozen ones but, surprisingly, didn’t have any around)
1 cup peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
6-8 cups chicken broth
4 cups rice
1/2 cup brandy
1 1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 dozen mussels
1 lobster/legs and claws/whole crabs
Grill scallops and shrimp on skewer. This could be done in a pan on the stove – quickly fried up in a bit of oil – but not the same pan with the paella.  Also, boil your lobster or crabs if they haven’t already been cooked.  You can remove the meat or serve them on top at the end in the shells.
IN THE PAELLA PAN: Heat some oil, cook chicken about 4 minutes per side.  Add pork, salt and pepper it, cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Add chorizo and cook another 2 minutes.  Add garlic and onion; cook 3 minutes. (Got all that?)
Add lobster, shrimp, scallops, bell pepper, and asparagus. Cook 3-4 minutes, then add peas, tomatoes, mussels, and 1 cup broth.  Cook 2 minutes.
Sprinkle rice evenly over the whole pan and stir until combined.  Add four cups broth and brandy.  With mortar and pestle, crush saffron and combine with 1 cup stock (see my pictures and comments below if you’re confused – also, there are many youtube videos demonstrating this), pour over rice and season with black pepper.
Reduce heat to medium low, cook to al dente, about 20 minutes (60 minutes if brown rice.  Really.)  Add stock 1 cup at a time as it simmers down and the rice continues to cook, not allowing it to burn on the bottom.
Brown rice soaking, and the stuff for our chicken marinade

Brown rice soaking, and the stuff for our chicken marinade

The assortment of meat and seafood going into our dish!

The assortment of meat and seafood going into our dish!

prepping this stuff took forever

prepping this stuff took forever

cooking up the chicken, pork, and chorizo

cooking up the chicken, pork, and chorizo

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getting ready for the brandy and saffron

getting ready for the brandy and saffron

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Tripp knew how to break into the brandy...

Tripp knew how to break into the brandy…

ready to simmer down

ready to simmer down

more kitchen help - Charlene and Karen keep checking it while I run around like crazy

more kitchen help – Charlene and Karen keep checking it while I run around like crazy

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