Step by step Paella

Once a summer I make a huge paella.  It is a lot of steps and a lot of chopping and I am not sure I have ever figured out the liquid ratio until I made this batch.  I had an aha moment more on that later.  This is the first time I made it out on the grill.  It was a wise move.  The closing of the grill during some of the steps really works.   I also have yet to figure out how to make paella for less than 15 people.  It is a bit like a stew or soup, the more the merrier.

Ingredients:

Hard chorizo – I used 8 six inch pieces sliced.

4 sweet onions chopped

5-6 peppers ( I used what the farm stand had – purple, green and yellow)

Had a bag of okra from the farm stand so I chopped that up and used it too ( not necessary)

Roughly 4/5 cups of chopped tomatoes.  I used beefsteaks and golden cherries but Italian works too.  I like the mixture

2.5 lbs of shrimp

2 lbs of calamari sliced into rings

5 lobster tails cut into two slices

4 chicken thighs cut into two ( you could use more)

1-2 lbs of mussels

1-2 lbs of clams

4 cups of shrimp stock (a really rich fish stock is the way to go here or you can use a chicken stock and cut it in half with bottled clam juice)  I bought this stock from our local fishmonger.

2 cups of Aborio rice ( I should have used 3)

chorizoHere is the beginnings of the paella.  I heat up a seriously large paella pot and sauteed the chorizo until it was crispy.  Then I took it out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

chickenThen I added the chicken pieces and let them get browned.  They were not thoroughly cooked yet and I set them aside.

peppers:onions:okraNext is the onions, peppers and okra mixture.  I cooked this until it was really soft and starting to caramelize.  About 15 minutes.

riceNow the rice goes in.  Mix it up for a few minutes before adding the stock and tomatoes.

rice:tomato:stockNext I added the stock and tomatoes.  You should have the stock warmed  when you put it in.  If you are doing this on the stove, bring this to boil before taking it down to simmer and putting the lid on.  I put the top on inside the grill and every once in a while I would lift up the grill and pan top and give it a stir.  Here is why I should have used 3 cups of rice instead of 2.  The tomatoes really do count as liquid and it was obvious down the line but still delicious.

shrimpOnce the liquid was almost gone I added the shrimps.

chicken:lobster on grillAt this point I took the lobster pieces and the chicken and set it on the grill on the side.  It allowed those ingredients to start to cook on their own before finishing them off in the paella.

everythingThen came the calamari, clams and mussels.  All the fish does add liquid too so it took a bit too long for the liquid to reduce.  The rice became stickier than drier.

stoveSo instead of letting it hang out on the grill I took the paella inside and got the liquid boiling on the stove.  I finally decided it was done.  Maybe not as non-liquidy as we would have liked but the flavor was amazing.  Next time, more rice.  Nobody seemed to mind.