21 June 2010

A party and paella...

June 19 was the day we have been preparing for, for the last 3 months! Our middle daughter, Julia, graduated from Tecumseh High School this year, and the 19th, her party date. We have been scrubbing, painting, weeding, cooking...it was a success!

Lots of family, food, memories and fun! We are so blessed to have such a great family that helps and supports, that laughs and cries together. There were some faces missing that brought some tears, and new faces that brought lots of smiles. Such is the way of a family.

Later in the evening, we prepared Paella and Sangria, a plate of Spanish cheeses and bread! A community effort...that's when paella tastes the best! The idea of paella is to use what you have close to home, be it seafood, chicken, pork etc. My favorite recipe is below and you can tweak the amounts to make enough for your crowd. I can NEVER get the crust to form correctly on the bottom of the pan, so don't stress either.

12 ounces of arborio rice
8 cups chicken stock, warm
3 strands saffron (added to chicken stock)
1 Tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika (sweet, bittersweet or hot- your preference)
2 Tablespoons minced Garlic
2 fresh tomatoes- chopped
1 jar roasted piquillo peppers- chopped
8 ounce package spanish chorizo- sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 lbs fresh mussels or clams
1 lb raw shrimp
2 lbs. fresh chicken thighs (I prefer to grill mine until about half done...undercooked chicken-yuk!)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Use an extra large skillet or paella pan over medium -high heat, saute your chorizo until the oils release and add tomatoes, garlic and peppers. Add rice and let brown it slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and add chicken stock, paprika and season to taste. Let cook about 10 minutes at a slow simmer. Raise heat back to medium high and add shrimp, mussels and pre-cooked chicken. Let cook an additional 10 minutes until musssels open, shrimp turns pink and rice is desired doneness!
Drizzle with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of extra virgin olive oil!

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