Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve Paella & Fideua

Barcelona is my favorite city because of its amazing food so for Christmas Eve, I decided to make paella and fideua (like paella except noodles instead of rice).

For the paella you'll need a wide, shallow pan (or you can use a paella pan if you own one) and for the fideua, you'll need a similar pan but one that is safe to put in the oven.
for fideua
for paella
[Serves 4]
1/2 onion
2 bell peppers (I chose one red and one yellow for added color vibrancy)
2 fresh chorizo sausages
3 or 4 chicken thighs
       marinated for 1 hour in 1 teaspoon paprika
                                          2 teaspoons oregano
                                          1/2 teaspoon salt
                                          1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes, or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cups of short or medium grain rice (preferably Spanish) if you want to make paella or 4 cups of fideo noodles (or a thin noodle pasta like angel hair or spaghetti) broken up into small pieces if you want to make fideua
1 teaspoon saffron
3 cups of stock - either chicken or vegetable
8 - 10 medium sized shrimp (I like to make sure there's at least 2 per person)
8 - 10 clams (same as the shrimp, I like at least 2 per person)
1 lobster tail, cut in half
2 calamari tubes, cut into rings.
1/2 cup peas
lemon wedges
handful of parsley

**Note that you can adjust the amount of seafood you add to the preferences of who you are serving.

***Also note that I decided to make both paella and fideua. In Barcelona, my sister and I had fideua with just calamari in it so I made a small portion of fideua (using 1 cup of noodles and 3/4 cup of stock) with just calamari (and omitted it from the paella recipe). I also borrowed a few vegetables from what I cup up to make the paella.


I diced the onion into tiny little pieces.
I roughly chopped up half of each pepper and then diced the other halves into smaller pieces.
Marinated the chicken for an hour before cooking. I did it right in a plastic ziploc bag for convenience's sake.
I used a garlic press to crush the garlic into a paste. Mincing it with a knife is fine as well. This garlic press is from Ikea ($5).
Drained a can of diced tomatoes.
I warmed up the chicken stock and decided to add in the shrimp skins and garlic to add more flavor.
My grocery store didn't have short grain rice so I settled for medium grain.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It doesn't only add a lot of flavor, it's what gives the paella rice the beautiful yellow color.
I used frozen peas so I let them thaw out.
I charred the larger chopped pieces of bell pepper on a hot pan.
Meanwhile, I got the paella pan hot and added the chorizo. I always prefer my sausage without the casing so I removed them and browned the meat. However, you could steam the sausage and then slice it before browning the piece in the pan if you prefer it that way.
Once the sausage was cooked, I pulled it from the pan and set it aside.
Next, I browned the chicken.
And same as the sausage, once it was done, I pulled it from the pan and set it aside.
There was quite a bit of fat rendered from the meats in the pan so I didn't have to add any oil but if the pan seems dry, add in a bit of vegetable oil. I added the onions and garlic to the pan and let them cook down a bit before adding in the diced bell peppers.
Next, I added in the rice and let each grain get coated in oil and toast up a bit.
Once I could smell the rice getting toasty, I added in about 1 cup of stock. I stirred the rice and let it soak in before adding in a second cup of rice and the saffron. I let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing was sticking.
I tasted a bit of the rice and it was al dente so I added in the chicken and chorizo and gently mixed them into the rice and then added the last cup of stock. Then I made a little tinfoil tent over the pot to help keep the heat in.
Then I added in the drained tomatoes and the charred bell peppers.
Once most of the liquid had been absorbed by the rice I added in the clams.
The shrimp and lobster only need a few minutes to cook (otherwise they'll be rubbery) so I added them in about 10 minutes before I knew I was ready to serve. A good rule of thumb is to check and see if the clams are ready. As soon as they are, you can add in the shrimp and lobster and then put that tinfoil tent back on.
I only bought 1 lobster tail because my sister doesn't really like lobster so I just needed it for my dad and myself.
I split it in half using a sharp knife and I was super careful.
Add in the peas last minute so that they stay vibrant green.
And toss in a handful of parsley at the end.
Delicious, flavorful, and full of seafood! SO GOOD. Serve with a lemon wedge. The lemon adds a lot of vibrancy and you can't deny that seafood tastes much better with the freshness of lemon.

**FIDEUA!

Here's what the fideo noodles look like. I just broke up the noodles with my hands.

I prepared the squid by just chopping it into rings.
I started the fideua in the same way as the paella with the onions, garlic, and peppers and then added the noodles and let them coat in oil and toast.
I added the stock and saffron and let the noodles soften up before adding the calamari and putting it in the oven.
Yum! You can definitely make the fideua the same way I prepared the paella with all of the sausage, chicken, and seafood. I just wanted to prepare it the way we had it in Barcelona. Plus, we were eating both paella and fideua that night - it wouldn't have been that great to eat two of the same exact dish.

Delicioso :)

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