Family Paëlla 2016
Paëllas have a life of their own. This one I meant to have with the younger generation so they could finally be part of it. They have seen them being set up, helped with the set up, but never been to them. My own kids were not overly keen on being present except for a few.
There is a lot of food prep for the paella itself, but well worth it in the end. I like to set everything up ahead of time and set it up near the paella pan itself as to minimize the fuss.
You will notice that what we use as a heat source for the pan itself is not traditional, the choices of heat sources were almost non-existent and what was available was either too expensive or did not fit the bill. I wanted to be able to make the paella where ever I wanted, so building a foundation and fire pit for it also wasn't an option. And so my father came up with the idea of using the four wheeled wheel barrow, my eldest son who has the mind of an engineer and a welder got with my dad and they worked on the rest of the plan. The rack that the pan rests on has three levels so I have some control over the heat, there are oven bricks on the bottom to help with continual heat. I have used it for three years now and it is just perfect!
I use coal, or charcoal and some small pieces of wood as the main heat source, that is my preference, I think any good heat source would work, one has to innovate when innovation is needed!
Traditionally, I have always served the paella with other foods for those that dislike seafood or its flavors within a meal. This time though, it was more relaxed and people could bring what they wished to eat if they did not wish to eat the paella. The BBQ was ready and clean for that. Some brought appetizers and others salads or deserts, everyone brought what they wished to drink. A real family get together ya know??????
The recipe I created in time is terribly flexible, I think there are only a few facts of most importance I feel cannot be ignored: how much liquid and rice you figure out at the end. Do not forget the saffron, it is worth having the good one and you need very little of it. Also, do not omit the wine a lemon juice, the acidity is needed to balance out the richness.
I always think I would love to do paellas at other people’s houses, they are so convivial and fun, but since I do them for over 20 guests and up to 60, it does become and expensive night for the hosts if they do not get help.
Remember that the recipe below is a guide, you can change things up and replace one ingredient with another. Most importantly, include your guests in the fun, make sure to set up chairs around the paella and have at it.
Recipe for two large paellas: 60 people
2 cups pancetta
6 large chicken breasts or 24 pieces de-boned chicken thighs
24 Italian style sausages (half hot, half sweet)
Chorizo (to choice, but don't omit it)
2 Spanish onions
2 garlic bulbs
12 orange, red, yellow and green peppers
5 lbs Italian tomatoes (diced)
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tbsp. hot pepper flakes
8 c. shrimp
2-4 c. scallops (size you wish)
Clams and mussels
16 cups chicken stock
2 cups Lemon Juice
4 cups white wine
Lobster and crab is optional
8 cups rice (arborio works well, I used jasmine and it was wonderful too)
12 Lemons (decoration)
1. Start cooking the bacon in the olive oil; add sausage and chicken to brown.
2. Add chorizo
3. Add onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes and once the veggies have browned.
4. Add herbs and seasonings.
5. Add the seafood and clams.
6. Add wine and lemon to deglaze the pan juices and then add the chicken stock.
7. Add rice.
8. Add shellfish
9. Cook 20 minutes or so till the liquid has gone and rice has started to crust on the bottom of your pan.
10. Decorate with lemon wedges and parsley.
Note: With the years, I have tricks I probably forget about, for example, how much saffron? Only a few pinches I would guess, as in 4-5. I have never measured it, in fact, I don't measure much of anything, most of the time it works out, sometimes not.
I have a lot of pictures with this blog since Joe was taking them, thank you Joe! In fact thanks to all my wonderful guests, you cannot have a party without guests and they were wonderful. And my kids? They all loved it! Hurray for me!