Now that I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Miami for a dear friend's wedding I am able to devote a little more time to the amazing Spanish night my friends and I shared earlier this month. The catalyst for this entire event was my friend Nahir's confession that one of the two dishes she can make with confidence is paella.
Paella is a regional Spanish dish from Valencia along the Mediterranean coast. The name comes from the Catalan word for pan (derived from Latin) and may be made with meat (paella Valenciana), seafood (paella de marisco), or both (paella mixta). Originally a rustic country dish paella was commonly made with ingredients on hand - generally chicken, rabbit, snails, and vegetables. Along the coast, of course, shellfish and fish dominated in the dish.
Since Nahir is allergic to shellfish she makes this dish with chorizo. You can certainly substitute chicken thighs and rabbit if you prefer. This dish makes a great centerpiece to be served amidst a variety of Spanish inspired tapas such as our dinner party; or you can serve it as a stand-alone dish with a fresh salad such as a classic baby spinach salad with raisins and toasted pine nuts.
Our menu included:
Spanish meat and cheese tray with marinated olives and caramelized walnuts
Lamb stuffed dates with a picante roasted red pepper sauce
Brussel sprout and fennel salad with brown butter-parmesan dressing
Chorizo stuffed mushrooms
Brie en croute stuffed with bacon and walnuts
Bleu cheese crusted pork loin stuffed with prunes and onions
Orange and red onion salad with olives
Fresh baby spinach dressed with a sherry and orange olive oil vinaigrette
Sweet potato muffins with dried cranberries
Guava and cream cheese bombs
Sangria. Lots and lots of sangria
Chorizo Paella ~ serves 4-6
1lb chorizo, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup parboiled long grain rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 gram saffron (about a pinch)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup frozen peas
Fresh thyme, to taste
Fresh parsley, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add sliced chorizo and brown. Remove from pot and set aside. Add olive oil and chopped onion to the pot. Saute until translucent. Add rice to sauteed onion and combine well, coating the rice in the oil and toasting slightly.
Fluff together with a fork (a spoon will crush the rice). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.