Happy Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This is the club in which we are assigned a food blog and we make and post a recipe from it. Our assignment for April was the blog Foodness Gracious by Gerry Speirs. Gerry is a stay-at-home-dad who loves to cook and bake and has tons of amazing recipes on his blog - from crackers to caramels and curries to cookies. His photos are drool-worthy and his recent 3-in-a-row series of macaron recipes made us crave those little French bites of deliciousness. But you know when you have a gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma and you just have to buy a paella pan even though you have never made paella? Yeah? So do we. So when we saw Gerry's recipe for seafood paella, we grabbed our shiny new pan and got to work.
Seafood stock...we didn't make our own.
Trader Joe's Saffron - a great product at a great price.
Our paella pan. It's not 17 inches wide.
Gerry's recipe can be found here. Note that he mentions that it makes "a lot of paella." Note that while he admits that it's okay with paella to be a little loose with the measuring, he also mentions that his paella pan is 17 inches wide, a fact we overlooked when we decided to follow his recipe with little to no tweaks. In our 15 inch paella pan. Yeah. The convo went something like, "Honey, are you sure it says four cups of rice? That seems like a lot." "Yes, for the third time, it says 4 cups of rice. He used arborio, but it should be fine." Well, there were some moments when things were overflowing onto the stove. And we ended up calling in not one, not two, but three of the neighbors to help us eat dinner (which they didn't mind at all!).
The Evolution of Our Paella (in pictures):
Everyone (and in the end, that was about seven people total) loved the flavors in this dish. We used shrimp, clams and chorizo because we love that spicy meatiness paired with the seafood. It was really delicious and in the end every bit of rice was eaten. However, our lack of attention to the size of our pan vs. Gerry's resulted in a very crowded pan which then resulted in a consistency more like risotto than traditional paella. (Which isn't horrible!) What follows is the recipe we actually made, based on Gerry's. But next time, we will use half the amount of rice because of the size of our pan, and otherwise follow Gerry's recipe for yumminess.
8 cups seafood broth
1 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
6 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups medium grain rice *(depending on the size of your paella pan!)
1/2 pound chorizo
1 pound littleneck clams
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat the seafood stock with the saffron in a large pot. In a large paella pan heat 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the diced tomatoes and garlic and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in 4 cups of rice and stir until it's all been covered by the tomato mixture. Slowly add the stock, stirring gently so that the rice gets coated and sits in the stock.***(See note below)
Continue to cook until rice begins to become tender. Add the chorizo and continue to cook 5 minutes. Add the clams by stuffing each one into the rice, making sure they are mostly covered by the paella. After about another 25-30 minutes, once nearly all of the stock has been absorbed, add the shrimp and cook another five minutes until shrimp turn pink. Then take the pan off the heat, cover with some foil, and allow to rest for 7-10 minutes.
Note: ***(this part took some time because all the stock wouldn't fit in the pan, so we added as much as could fit, stirred until it was absorbed, added more and continued to do this until all the stock was gone, obviously leading to our risotto-like consistency).