I made paella tonight. It’s not something I cook often, but perhaps two or three times a year. Folks on FB were asking for the recipe, and since this took some time to write out, I thought I’d post it here, too. I’m not an expert by any means, but this works for me.
Preheat oven to 400 F / 200 C
Saute a dozen (headless if you’re squeamish : – ) prawns with shells on (adds more flavour to the paella and your fingers if you peel shells later : -), boil half a dozen mussels for two minutes, tossing in a dozen clams with the boiling mussels for the last minute. Discard any mussels or clams that do not open.
Many recipes also call for sauted chicken drumsticks/thighs, or diced sauted chicken breast, diced chorizo or other sausage, etc., but just seafood is fine if that’s what floats your boat. I also sometimes add chunks of sauted non-oily, lighter fish, like basa.
Take a few strands (a pinch) of saffron and steep in a bit of water. Can put more if you like, but there’s no need to go crazy with it.
Prepare 1.5 liters of broth (I just use chicken powder, but of course it’s better from scratch if you have time, using whatever base you like), You can also substitute some of the water the mussels/clams were boiled in if you’re really into seafood flavour.
Chop an onion or two and lightly saute with a quartered tomato or two. Garlic, for those who like it.
Put about 600g (~1.5 lbs) of uncooked long-grain rice in an oven-safe stone pot or casserole dish. Stir in the broth, the onions and tomatoes, toss in some peas. Stir in the steeped saffron. Salt and pepper if you like. I find the broth and saffron alone do the trick.
Take the prawns, clams in their now open shells, and mussels in their now open shells, and press them on top of the rice mixture. Bake uncovered in oven for 25-30 minutes. Around the 20-minute point I peek in the window every couple of minutes to see if there is still liquid percolating at the bottom of the glass casserole dish.
Take out and let stand for ten minutes or more before serving.
I’m sure there are plenty of variations. It’s hard to go wrong, so try what you like and seems interesting. Just be sure to saute, boil, or otherwise cook whatever seafood and un-smoked meats you are using, as appropriate or to your taste, before arraying them on top of the rice mixture, because 25 minutes in the oven is likely not enough to cook them thoroughly. (And you want to make sure any fresh shellfish opens up for you).