The other day, I found myself buying a cookbook called The Alba Cookbook. Alba, as some people would know, is a traditional Spanish restaurant. Personally, I love their buffet and the idea that the cookbook came with a free lunch buffet meant that buying it was a no brainer.
I was browsing through the pages when I mentioned to my mom that I bought the cookbook. She asked me if their Paella recipe was there, and when we saw that they had a step by step process of making Paella, it suddenly became exciting to try it out!
I made Paella in school before, and that’s how I know that it needs a special pan. I needed a paellera before I could start making my own paella, so I got a not expensive 38cm paellera from a nearby mall yesterday and started doing some research on making paella.
This morning, I told my family that I was making paella and gambas for lunch. My mom, being such a big fan of Alba and paella, wanted to help out and even researched on it as well! One of the best resources we had was www.hungerhunger.blogspot.com. We decided to mix the Alba recipe and the Hunger Hunger Paella recipe, to make something of our own.
Personally, I never follow a recipe to the dot, as I like being spontaneous when cooking, so here’s the output of my paella!
That’s the gambas and the paella! I understand that I’m not the most artistic person around, but hey I tried my best! I can assure you that it tastes good though.
Let’s go through a step by step process, yes?
What’s on the pot on the side, is the chicken stock I made. I basically just boiled some chicken bones with herbs, salt, and pepper for an hour. For the paella though, I added a pinch of saffron. You’ll need about 6 cups of stock. I made 8 just in case, but I only used about 6.
First you’ll need to heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once it is hot enough(i was only on medium heat), go add some chicken! I used about 3 small chicken legs. When the chicken is brown(small pieces make it easier), and there aren’t any raw parts anymore, add chorizo. I used 1 chorizo bilbao, sliced into small rounds. When you add the chorizo, it’ll start rendering a lot of its fat, so just make sure to coat your chicken with it.
Set the chicken and chorizo aside, and put in about 150 grams of squid. It doesn’t take too long to cook squid, so just beware that it becomes kind of rubbery if overcooked. I don’t remember the exact time, but it was only about 1-3 minutes. Set the squid aside, and put the heat on high, and add some oil before you add the shrimp. Apparently, shrimps taste different when cooked on high heat. I saw online that it brings out some grilled flavor, which I believe is true. You can go with medium heat, if you don’t want that effect. It’s pretty obvious when the shrimp is cooked, but if you’re in doubt, it’s done when it becomes pink/red/orange. Set aside afterwards.
Next up, bring the heat back to medium, and saute some garlic and onions. There was about 1 whole red onion, and half a garlic in there. I normally put the onions in first before the garlic, but in this case, my research told me to put the garlic first - must be a Spanish thing.
When that’s done, add in some canned tomatoes and bell peppers. I got the big 400g canned tomatoes, but I only used about 3/4 of it. There was only one whole bell pepper there. My mom suggested using tomato sauce next time. You may want to try that too!
What you’re doing now, is making what is apparently called a “sofrito.” They say that it gives the paella its flavor. You have to wait for a while until the mixture thickens though. Personally, I didn’t wait until it was really thick because I was in a rush and it still turned out quite well.
Put the chicken and chorizo back in! Add some rosemary.
When that’s done, you put in the rice! I used a 38cm paellera, so 2 cups of rice was ideal. I used Japanese Short Grain only because it is the same rice I use for risotto. I saw online that it was okay, but I think long grain is more popular. Stir the rice around with the sofrito and the other stuff for a while. Add some salt as well.
Put in about 4 and 1/2 cups of the stock, or enough to cover everything. Boil the mix for about 2 minutes, and then put the heat on low. The difference between paella and risotto, is that you don’t want to stir paella. It’ll end up creamy like the risotto, which you do not want in your paella.
Add more stock if you don’t think its enough, but hey the measurements above are just a guide and might not work for everyone!
You’ll notice that most of the stock has disappeared! Push some mussels in to cook them. Should take about 5 minutes. If the rice isn’t ready, just add some more stock before putting the mussels. Add about 3/4 cup of green peas afterwards. Just spread that around and cook for another 5 minutes.
Put the squid and shrimps back in, take it off the fire, and cover it with foil. My stock wasn’t completely absorbed yet, but apparently the process continues when you let it rest.
Let it rest for 15 minutes and you’re almost done!
Put in some hard boiled eggs and lemon wedges before serving. I didn’t have parsley but you can put that too.
I’m not very good at designing stuff, but hey it tasted good! There goes my first time with paella! Try it out if you want.
I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did! See you guys again soon :)
(you can just use hungerhunger.blogspot.com’s recipe if you want. I changed it quite a bit. I’m too lazy to write a recipe haha sorry)