2 T. chopped garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut in half
12 oz. of smoked chicken or turkey sausage (kielbasa is fine), sliced into 1/2" rounds
18 fresh cherrystone clams
1/2 lb. monkfish, sliced into 2" pieces
1 lb. hake or other mild white fish, cut into 3" serving pieces
8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and butterflyed
fresh long string beans
1 red pepper, cut into long thin straight strips
17.5 oz. bag of Bomba rice
3 c. bottled clam broth
3 c. strong chicken broth
generous pinch of saffron
2 big ripe tomatoes
Combine the clam and chicken broths in a pot and bring to the just-barely simmering point. Add the saffron, stir, and keep at this low heat, lid ajar to reduce evaporation but so that you can still keep an eye on it. The saffron will melt into the broth and make it a nice golden color. The threads will still be visible so don't expect them to disappear altogether.
In the add three or more tablespoons of olive oil, and it is shimmering, add the chopped garlic and stir, scraping up any residual chicken bits and the garlic is very fragrant, just a minute or so. The garlic doesn't need to brown and certainly shouldn't burn; if it does clean out the paella pan and start again at the garlic stage. Burnt garlic is horrible.
Add the rice to the garlic oil slick, stirring to coat each grain with oil and toasting them. Stir all the while to avoid scorching and cook in this manner for 3 – 4 minutes. The rice should not brown, but this pre-cooking does add to the flavor. You'll also detect a nutty aroma. This is good.
Using a ladle, begin adding the broth mixture, 1/4 – 1/2 cup at a time. Stir the rice in the broth while you cook to keep the rice from sticking. When the liquid dries up (not bone dry, just not loose or watery) add more broth. Continue cooking this way until 1/2 the broth is used up and the rice is half-way cooked. NOTE: the rice takes a lot of liquid so do extra broth on hand if needed. As you're finishing us this state 1 of rice cooking, core the tomatoes, cut in half and squeeze out the seeds and the viscous stuff around them. Hold a box grater over the paella pan and place the tomato half face-down on the side with the largest grating holes. Use the palm of your hand to grate out the red juicy pulp, right down to the skin. The skin won't grate off and it will keep you from adding grated palm of your hand to the dish. Add salt and pepper.
At some earlier point you've preheated the oven to 350º. In the same paella pan or a more decorative version (see my Nambé number) arrange the cooked chicken, the sliced sausages and pieces of monkfish and hake evenly around the pan, nestling into the rice. Arrange the shrimp on top, and tuck the cherrystones around the edges of the pan. Make spoke patterns with the beans and peppers. Carefully add the remaining broth — it should cover the rice well. Carefully cover the whole pan with foil, as tightly as you can.
Place in the hot 350º oven, and cook for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven, peel back a bit of the foil. Taste the rice — is it cooked through? Individual grains that are firm but not still al dente? Are the clams yawning wide open? If you answer yes to these two questions, keep covered with foil and let rest for five minutes before serving. If you answer no, close up the foil and continue to cook, checking every 10 minutes or so until rice is done and clams are open.
You can serve after a five minute rest or keep warm in a 200º oven for an hour to two until you're good and ready to eat.
When you remove the foil, the surface of the paella will be pretty flat and even. Do not fluff or otherwise meddle to create some kind of artificial loftiness. A nice smooth surface is the way to go. Garnish with a bouquet of parsley leaves. Serve so everyone gets a bit of everything: chicken, sausage, fish, a shrimp, some clams.Print This Post