Sunday Paella

 

IMG_0860[1]

As a child, I grew up with my grandparents preparing paella at the cottage every Sunday in the summer. The dish is a fond memory of both the season but also my grandparents and the cottage. Later on, as I spent some time in Valencia, it was also a confirmation of a celebratory dish, as for the Sunday during the village feria, a large group of friends shared this beautiful dish served on tables set in the streets specially for the occasion. There is usually a fair amount of wine involved as well, in the form of sangria, it is summer after all (!) and maybe that’s what helps create such a festive aura 🙂

At our house, there was also a regulatory argument between my grandmother and grandfather, surrounding the making of the fire, the cornerstone of any true paella. You can make it on the stove, but you’d be missing the whole point! So as I was saying, the fire, which has to be just right, the coals need to keep for a good 30 minutes, but not too hot, or you’ll burn the paella. Next important part of the dish is the ingredients. The dish came to be in Valencia, in the Albufera region, where rice is grown and was made by peasants, so all the ingredients are what they had on hand.  Rabbit, seafood from the ocean nearby and local produce.  There is no one recipe as you will make with whatever you have on hand.  The dish is actually named from the actual pan you cook everything in. It could be a vegetarian paella, seafood, with meat, there really are no limits to your imagination! As we have fresh peas right now, those went in. The one constant is the Bomba rice, tomatoes, garlic, paprika. While cooking, the aroma is spectacular and the finished result is spectacular. Bonus? No dishes, everyone eats directly from the paella! Just have a few small dishes to collect meat bones or seafood shells. Now if that doesn’t spell fun, I don’t know what does! 🙂

Recipe

1 large tomato, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 pieces chicken

10 large shrimp

1/3 cup Bomba rice

3 cloves garlic, crushed & minced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 cup peas

1/2 cup garlic shoots, sliced

2 cups stock (seafood, chicken, I used a combination of both)

I tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pinch saffron

Salt to taste

Instructions

On a well lit charcoal fire, heat paella with a tablespoon of olive oil. Place chicken and cook until golden. Remove and put aside, add garlic and paprika to pan and toss, add onions, toss, add tomatoes and blend well. Add peppers and toss, then peas and garlic shoots, toss. Add rice and stir to combine and allow flavors to meld. Place chicken then add stock. Place shrimp in a circle around dish. Allow to cook for 30-40 minutes. When you think dish is ready, continue cooking for 5-10 minutes as this is when the rice will caramelize at the bottom. Remove from fire and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve with lemons to squeeze over rice. Serves 2. Enjoy!

IMG_0857[1]IMG_0854[1]IMG_0858[1]IMG_0863[1]IMG_0860[1]IMG_0861[1]

Quick comfort food – Spanish Tortilla

IMG_0588

If nothing else, I always have eggs in the fridge, garlic, onions and potatoes in the pantry. So when I’m having a hectic day or week with no time to go to the market or to cook and am just too tired to have any kind of imagination, but I still want to eat well (i.e. not take away or frozen dinners) a tortilla is one of my go to’s. In less than 15 minutes, I’ve got a delicious omelet and to boot my hunger & palate are satisfied!

RECIPE

2-3 eggs, beaten

1 small potato, thinly sliced

1 small shallot or 1/2 of a small onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat enough olive oil to sauté potatoes in a skillet. Add potatoes and cook, occasionally stirring until browned. Add garlic and onion and continue cooking until onion becomes glassy, season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl and season with salt. Add potato mixture just to blend and return to well oiled skillet and lower heat to medium-low. Carefully lift sides with a silicon spatula and lift pan so that runny eggs go underneath. Continue doing so until top of omelet has no more runny egg. Cover and allow to set for 3-4 minutes. Carefully slide omelet on a plate and invert back into skillet to cook other side. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Plate omelet and allow to cool before serving. Serves 1, enjoy!

IMG_0681IMG_0675

Spanish lentil soup to soothe the soul

March… the month of make it or break it! I’ve personally had it with winter. I generally get through the winter without complaining too much but for some reason this year seems to be rougher. Not enough sun, not enough warmth, too much gloom… I’ve been cooking meals that reassure me, that make me feel like there is hope! This recipe is a classic in my house. It gets tweaked a tiny bit from time to time, however I’m sure it remains true to my grandmother’s original recipe! If you can find a true, good chorizo, you’re set. I love that this recipe is from my spanish roots and yet all the ingredients are local. The only imported product is the smoked paprika! The soup is perfectly paired with a creamy goat cheese and a crusty country bread. It’s hearty, tasty, and comforting!!!

 

Recipe

1 cup lentils

1 medium chorizo, sliced

2 cups chicken broth (or water)

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 tomato, crushed

1 large shallot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat oilve oil on medium heat in saucepan, add shallots until soft and translucent. Add garlic and stir. Add tomatoes, carrots and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add chorizo and lentils and stir to mix. Add broth and simmer on low for +/- 30 minutes or until lentils are just soft under tooth. Can be frozen up to 4 months. makes 2 large portions. Enjoy!