Paella is a flavorful one-pot dish that is great to share with friends. There are several variations on ingredients, but the essential burst of flavor comes from the soffritto. The other key is to use a short-grain rice, such as bomba or valencia rice. For this version, I chose to use a shrimp and chorizo protein combo and a combo of morels and peas. It will display beautifully in a paella pan, but a Dutch oven also works well and will create the characteristic rice crust on the bottom. The recipe serves about 6 people.
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1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
6 ounces tomato paste
1/2 cup lapsang souchong tea (steep for 2 min.)
20 crushed saffron threads (steep saffron in tea for 3 min.)
1 ounce morels, rehydrated
1 cup bomba rice
2 cups fish broth
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
5 oz. Spanish chorizo, sliced
1 lb. large wild-caught shrimp
1. Heat olive oil over low flame.
2. Add onion, morels, paprika, and garlic and heat for 2 minutes.
3. Add tomato paste. Stir ingredients, and heat for 7 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. When it turns brick red and most of the liquid has evaporated, deglaze with the tea and saffron steeped water.
5. Add 1 cup of bomba rice. Stir to coat and heat for 2 minutes.
6. Add 2 cups of fish broth and 2 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
7. Fold in peas.
8. Add sliced Spanish chorizo.
9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
10. Heat olive oil over high flame. Add the shrimp to the oil, once it begins to shimmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook shrimp for (1.5 minutes each side) 3 minutes total. They should appear nearly white.
11. Arrange cooked shrimp on top of rice and cook for another 4 minutes.
*Garnish with chopped parsley and chives, and serve.