CHICKEN AND SHELLFISH PAELLA (for six to eight)
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1-1/2 pounds chicken legs and thighs
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup tomato puree
½ cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon pimenton (Spanish smoked pepper)
2 cups short grain Spanish rice such as Bomba or Calasparra
12 live clams, scrubbed
12 live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup roasted red bell pepper strips
½ cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
3 lemons, quartered
1.In a small dry frying pan, toast the saffron threads over medium heat, stirring constantly or shaking the pan, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 1 minute. Pour the threads into a bowl and, when cool, crumble with your fingertips. Set aside.
2. Halve the chicken pieces across the bone with poultry shears. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. In a 14 inch paella pan or a 12 inch frying pan with sides 2 inches high, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches without crowding, add the chicken and cook, turning as needed, until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, stock, pimenton and saffron, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
4. Sprinkle rice evenly over the bottom of the pan, then arrange the chicken over the rice, submerging it in the liquid. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then cook for 10 minutes.
5. Arrange the clams, mussels and shrimp over the rice, discarding any clams or mussels that do not close to the touch. Push the seafood down into the liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the clams and mussels have opened (discard any that do not open), the shrimp are pink and the liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, push aside the rice to see if there is a nice brown crust on the bottom of the pan. If one hasn’t formed yet, cook for a few minutes longer, adjusting the heat as necessary to brown, but not burn, the rice.
6. Remove from the heat. Arrange the bell pepper strips and peas over the rice, cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve at once directly from the pan, with lemon wedges for the diners to squeeze over.
from Paul Richardson, Rustic Spanish (Williams Sonoma)