Hey Hey Paella!
Welcome to week #15 of my yearlong cooking adventure! You are looking at one of my favorite foods in the world: Paella.
Here is the definition I found online:
“A Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken, seafood, etc., cooked and served in a large shallow pan.”
What’s not to love – NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I HAD TO MAKE IT? Yep, it’s going to be one of those weeks!
Welcome To A Wild Week Of Paella!
This is week #15 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge – a different recipe from a different cookbook I own every week of the year, and this is the second stack of ten cookbooks I will be choosing recipes from…including an old favorite from one of my favorites:
I love this cookbook and have shared stories from it before – and will link to those adventures as well. For my “52 In 22” effort, I wanted to try something unusual – and of course, it took me down a VERY strange road – let’s get cooking and see what happened!
I’m Making A Chorizo, Prosciutto And Olive Paella!
There’s a reason I chose this recipe: I will explain later, but for now let’s get cooking this unique dish!
First, let’s marinate our olives….I used a cup of pitted Kalamata olives and the same amount of pitted green olives as well…add a cup of dry white wine, bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes…then just set them aside until needed.
There is one more prep item to make as well:
Take a quarter teaspoon of Saffron – yes, the world’s most expensive spice – and add it to 4 cups of chicken broth…mix and bring to a simmer…
Now, let’s tackle the Chorizo rice!
I diced one onion, six cloves of garlic and a red bell pepper…then I looked at my Chorizo…and the label of ingredients…..
That’s right: my Pork Chorizo had “pork salivary glands, lymph nodes and fat” as the main ingredients…I discovered that Mexican Chorizo is generally a fresh sausage and is usually cooked like ground meat… and since the original Paella recipe asked for Spanish Chorizo, I realized I was off on a wild new ride!
The Mexican Chorizo looked like a very long hot dog….and according to an online definition, Spanish chorizo, on the other hand, is a dried cured sausage with a completely different texture.
Oh c’mon…what’s the difference? Um…well, here’s the difference:
You see, as I squeezed the Mexican Chorizo out of the casing it was very paste-like, and once in the hot pan it started out as meatball-looking chunks, but that quickly changed:
What started off looking like I’d get some nicely formed chunks of Chorizo quickly dissolved into chaos, literally as soon as the Chorizo got hot THIS HAPPENED:
Yep, all of that Chorizo paste dissolved into a soupy broth that smelled incredible, but my dream of Chorizo meatballs had literally “melted away”…so the only “meat” you are going to see in this dish will be the Prosciutto:
Well, let’s soldier on – let’s make this dish and see how it turns out!
After combining all of the ingredients, and ,along sire the rice is folded in, you add the broth and let it simmer for a few minutes to bring all of these flavors together, like this:
I have to note here that your kitchen is going to smell so great right now! Next up, some time in the oven for all of that saffron stock to be absorbed by the rice…
One you put the Paella in the oven, it only takes 18-20 minutes before the saffron chicken stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, and it looks gorgeous!
All of the Saffron Chicken stock was absorbed into the rice, which was nicely done – and all of the flavors combined perfectly…
My Chorizo, Prosciutto And Olive Paella!
Here it is: a traditional, meat-only Spanish Paella – using Mexican Chorizo!
First and foremost: it truly was delicious! The rice had absorbed all of that Chorizo goodness, and the snap peas still had a bit of a bite to them – I love olives, so having two kinds in there was double the fun!
Still, something was nagging at me – and I had to act on it:
That’s right: I made the entire dish all over again, this time after finding true Spanish hard Chorizo at Eataly!
This Chorizo was like a salami, very hard with a thin paper coating that I peeled off, then sliced it into silver dollar pieces, and pan fried:
Everything else was done the same, so I added all of the ingredients again, let the saffron stock absorb in the oven again for 20 minutes, and here’s how it turned out:
Chorizo Prosciutto And Olive Paella – Take Two!
And there you have it!
Two differences: first, you can clearly see the hard Spanish Chorizo – but more importantly, the rice seemed lighter, still more of a Saffron color versus my first attempt, when the Mexican Chorizo darkened the rice a bite more…
So, after my double Paella exercise, which was best?
Honestly, since I am not a huge fan of salami, the first one, with the Chorizo absorbed into the rice was actually my favorite! Still, they were both really great!
I have shared another Paella recipes as well, also from this terrific cookbook:
This Seafood Paella was delicious and so much fun to make as well!
Click here for the recipe:
However, I discovered that this Paella may have broken Spanish culinary law!
I found an article that said, in Valencia, seafood is verboten in Paella!
Click here for the whole story of this culinary crime:
What a scandal – yet someone is actually trying to use a machine to create this cultural gem of a dish!
Se the story here:
If you are still reading, you probably know that I am cooking 52 recipes from one of my 52 cookbooks in 2022: called the “52 In 22” cooking challenge!
That included this “bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin” from Anthony Bourdain – click here to see how I did:
Also, my food blog has al of them as well, plus so much more!
Click here to see all of the fun food from around the world I share!
Let me know what you think of my “52 In 22” challenge and my “tale of two Paellas!”
If you like the story, share it with friends on social media! Thanks!