Sunday, March 30, 2008

Easy Shrimp Paella

I recently bought a Lodge Dutch Oven and I was excited to use it this weekend. I researched for something uncomplicated as this is the first time I am using this type of cookware. In my research though most of the Dutch oven dishes I found took a long time to make - mostly braised pork or beef. I was just not in the mood for such meat dishes, and also I wanted a one pot meal so I can use my full concentration on it. Then I recalled watching Ina Garten's 'Easy Lobster Paella' recipe and thought I could use it as a basis for my recipe. Lobster is expensive and I shy away paying much for an experiment (...well this is also my first time to cook Paella) so I substitued shrimp instead. I love Seafood Paella and I could throw in some mussels, squid and clams in it if it was only for myself, but I have to make consideration for DH who will be sharing the meal with me. Slowly I am getting him to eat more seafood varieties... it's taking him awhile but his palate for seafood is improving.

One of my frustrations during our honeymoon in Barcelona was that I had to constrain myself from eating their various Paella. For one thing we did not want to fall for tourist trap restaurants and also we were traveling with family who did not care for seafood dishes. Spain is known for the best Paella (ughhh!!) and I was disappointed that I got to try it only twice during our 6 days stay there. I was specially curious to try the Paella Negro (Paella with squid ink sauce) but I was hesitant to order it because my companions might not stomach it. Anyway, in the end we found a really good restaurant that serves awesome Catalan food at a reasonable price so we were happy :)

Ingredients: (makes 6 servings)
3 bacon strips
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound pork kielbasa, cut in medallions 1/4 inch thick
1 organic yellow onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
2 cups white basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Spanish saffron threads, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it a little hot)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1 pound uncooked peeled deveined large shrimp (or unpeeled head on whole shrimps)
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 lemons, cut into wedges

Note: If you use whole shrimps, cut the head off and separate. Peel and deveine the flesh and set aside. Simmer the head with the chicken stock, mashing the shrimp heads occasionally with a wooden spoon (this will add the good flavors of the shrimp to the stock).

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
1) Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook until brown.
2) Add the kielbasa and saute until brownish then add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes.
4) Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer.
5) Stir in the chicken stock, rice, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
6) Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
7) After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the oven uncovered.
8) Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
9) Transfer the Paella back to the stove top and add the wine, shrimp & peas and stir gently.
10) Cover and cook the Paella over low heat for 5 minutes, until the wine is absorbed by the rice and the shrimp turns opaque in the center.
11) Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.

1) If you want the dish to be more exotic, add shrimps as a whole - heads on and unpeeled.
2) I also incorporated chunks of cooked chicken which I added at the same time with the onions.
3) If you need more heat after it is cooked serve with tabasco sauce.

Reference: Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa @ FoodNetwork)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...