Now this serves 5-6 people but I have doubled it many times for larger crowds, unfortunately I don't have a authentic paella pan which is really what you need for that big of meal. This is a great tasting dish, but it is a bit of work, but well worth it for a dinner party. I have many other versions I have tried but never satisfied and always come back to this one. Using saffron, fresh seafood and the flavors from the pork, ham and chorizo I find important to give the dish depth of flavor Not only is this great for a dinner party but also a treat for the whole family on the weekend as a special treat.
Meats and Seafood
- 2 spanish chorizo, sausage links cut in 1/4-inch slices (the firm chorizo, Mexican chorizo is the soft version)
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in large pieces
- 1 pork chop, cut in cubes don't dice too fine (1-inch thickness, and yes I just ask the guy behind the meat counter for 1)
- 1⁄8 lb ham, cut in cubes don't dice too fine (1/4-inch thickness, and yes again, I just get a slice from the deli)
- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and tails on (personally I remove mine, but traditionally they are left on)
- 1⁄2 lb cod, cut into large pieces (use could use halibut too, any firm white fish)
- 12 clams, cherrystone if possible my seafood guy will always clean them for me (rinsed well in a pan of water)
- 12 mussels, my seafood guy will always clean them for me (rinsed and cleaned well)
- 2 small bell peppers, cut in strips (I like to use 1 green and 1 red pepper)
- 2 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups arborio rice
- 3 3⁄4 cups chicken broth, sometimes I use a bit more broth (stock if you have home made would be even better)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon saffron
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- lemon wedge
- Broth -- add the 3 3/4 cups of chicken broth, saffron and the bay leaf and bring to a medium heat. And simmer. You will bring it up to a boil right before you add it to the rice.
- Meat and Vegetable Base -- Now in your largest pan, add the olive oil and bring to medium heat. Dry off the chicken and then pan sear the chicken until golden brown, It will only take a few minutes. Remove to a plate and cover.
- Then add the chorizo, pork and ham. Cook until cooked through about 5-7 minutes. Then right on top of those meats, add the garlic, onion, scallion and cook another 3-4 minutes until the onion begins to soften.
- Now on top on the vegetable mixture, add the large shrimp and saute just 2-3 minutes until the shrimp just start to turn pink. Then pick out the shrimp and set to the side with the chicken.
- Rice -- First off, bring the chicken broth up to a boil for just a minute or two before you add it to the rice and don't forget to remove the bay leaf Now add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it well with the oil vegetables, chorizzo, ham and pork. Sprinkle in the parsley, and add the chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, and peas, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium / medium high heat and cook, uncovered stirring occasionally about 10-15 minutes. There will still be some liquid in the pan if not, just add a little bit more chicken stock, you don't want to burn on the bottom.
- Chicken and Shrimp -- Return the chicken and shrimp to the rice and bury them in the rice.
- Seafood -- Add the clams, mussels and the cod to the rice again pushing them slightly in the rice to soak up all the flavors. I like to push them in so when they open they open facing out (it just looks prettier). Check your broth level again. You don't want it soupy, but you want some moisture.
- Finishing -- Two versions. Some prefer to bake it at 325, to finish cooking the seafood. I prefer to just cover mine on the stove just until the seafood is done. About 10-15 minutes. I like the stove top method for ease but you can use whichever methods works good for you. I remove it from the heat and just let it rest a couple of minutes before you serve it. Garnish with lemon wedges, I squeeze a couple over the top and some chopped parsley.
- Serve with a nice side salad, with spanish flavors of olives, tomatoes, red onion, maybe some artichoke hearts and a lemon vinaigrette and you have an amazing dinner. I know there are lots of steps, but it is completely worth every minute. Just take the time to prepare everything ahead of time and then it is just a matter of putting it all together.
This was our Christmas dinner this year and it was wonderful. I cut the recipe in half added Pacific white spot prawns and didn't use any ham or the porkchop. doubled the saffron. Everything worked perfectly - the arborio rice cooks so evenly. The vegetable base adds color and flavor Served with an artichoke mushroom salad, roasted olives and goat cheese stuffed figs. Heavenly, thanks for a wonderf Christmas