From the Kitchen of Terri Bergman
Paella is friendship experience… various people of different backgrounds intermingle in the kitchen and at the table to meld friendships that go beyond our walls. With Paella, we toss seafood, chicken, sausage (… veggies from the gardens) to make a dish with depth of flavor and warmth of heart that is distinctive to each preparation. Just like our friends, no two paellas are alike… bring your taste buds and show us how YOU paella!
The meaning of Safari is a “Journey or Expedition “and that is what we are on as we prepare “French Safari Paella”. Two famous French preparations are similar in nature to Paella, they are Cassoulet , hearty and delicious, made well it ‘warms the soul’ and Bouillabaisse, this ‘fish soup’ is probably the most famous traditional recipe from Provence from Marseille, the more people these dishes are made for, the more different types of ingredients are in it…like Paella!
Paella is Spanish in its origin…but it is really a delicious blending of foods that are fresh, available and local…a bit of a play on *“stone soup”. Don’t know what I like more, the process, the gathering of foods, the cooks, the diners…or the amazing warmth this dish brings to the soul! Here is our version: Makes 6-8 servings.
5 cups strong chicken broth
1/2 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
1 TBSP KB’s Amazing Heat
1 small onion, peeled
2 small chickens, about 2# each
1/2 cup olive oil
1 # artisanal sausage or (KB’s Paella Sausage Recipe)
1/4 lb smoked bacon diced
1 medium onion, chopped
6 scallions, 4 chopped,
*2 finely minced reserved for finish
1 head of chopped garlic
2 roasted red peppers/**pimento (jarred is good)
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled
2 (Opt.) Live lobsters( boiled, divided)
1 small red pepper thinly sliced
1 small yellow pepper thinly sliced
3 cups Spanish rice (Bomba)
6 tbsp chopped parsley
2 bay leaves, whole
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
(Opt.) 18 clams / mussels, scrubbed
Lemon wedges for garnish
Parsley for garnish
*Rem. green onion for garnish
NOTE ON INGREDIENTS: The only ingredient you must have is the broth, the rice and the saffron!!! So add all, extend this list…or deduct according to your taste and budget!
Heat the broth with the saffron, pimentón and the whole onion. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove the onion and measure the broth — you need 5-6 cups.
Cut the chickens into small serving pieces — the whole breast in 3 parts, each thigh and wings with tips removed. Dry the pieces well and sprinkle with salt/pepper.
In a metal Paella pan, with about a 15 inch base, heat the oil. Add the chicken pieces and fry over high heat until golden. Remove to a warm platter. Add the sausage and bacon to the pan and stir fry about 10 minutes. Add the chopped onion, scallions, garlic, pimentos, red peppers and sauté until the onion is wilted. Add the shrimp and the lobster and sauté about 3 minutes more, or until the shrimp and lobster barely turn pink (the lobster will cook more in the oven.) Remove the shrimp and lobster to the platter with the chicken. Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat it well with the oil. Sprinkle in the chopped parsley and the whole bay leaves. Stir in the chicken broth, boiling hot, the wine, and rice. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat about 10 minutes. Bury the shrimp and the chicken in the rice. Add the clams and the mussels, pushing them into the rice, with the edge that will open facing up. Decorate the paella with the lobster pieces, and then bake at 325 F, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, add reserved peas and let sit on top of the stove, lightly covered with foil, for about 10 minutes. Heat burner to medium and toast bottom for one minute, remove.
To serve: Decorate with lemon wedges, chopped parsley and minced green onion.
Bring Paella Pan to the Table to serve…..this is a beautiful looking dish, so let your guest first eat with their eyes!
JUST FOR FUN…The Fable of Stone Soup…Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup“, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.
Pay attention to your broth, as in all cooking this is the “soul”, make it rich and flavorful with fish or chicken stock and seasonings add a good concentrate (such as “Superior Touches” Better Than Bouillon Product, now gratefully found in most markets!) If you need the flavors enhanced.
This is where all the magic starts…
When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it’s perfect. The ideal paella has a toasted rice bottom called socarrat.
Garnish just before serving with the cooked peas, parsley, finely diced green onion and lemon wedges this last add makes for a fresher taste!
Firm and absorbent rice is the key; we use Bomba available at specialty markets or online.
Use Real Saffron…it is key in taste and color, there is no substitute, a little goes a long way.