Before we get into this paella de pollo y cochino let me explain where I’ve been these last 3 weeks (I did mention it in the previous post but I still have a bit left I need to get out of my system). So 3 weeks agoI was getting ready to move my site to a self hosted site. I think moving houses would have been less work and less nerve wrecking. I was in panic mode for a week after accidentally deleting my MySQL tables and lost the entire contents of my blog. When I tried to re-import the site from wordpress.com, not all the posts were coming through and after 48 hours of having a completely broken website I took matters into my own hands… and installed wordpress.org by hand. I had to do this in order to install the specific version (and older one) that seemed to actually work well and not screw up the import.
I think 48 hours is all it takes for search engines to give up on you if they don’t see you. My blog disappeared from the internets of the world. Dropped off every imaginable search engine index and remained in limbo until today. I had to resubmit sitemaps and force new crawls, repair broken links, and do a ton of maintenance. Today google is liking me a bit better now and I’m waiting for Bing and Yahoo to catch up. I think it will be a week until traffic is restored and things go back to the way they were. Have questions about how to mess up a blog in 10 seconds. I’m your guy. Paella de pollo y cochino is what this post is all about so I will spare you with anymore of this boring tech whatever and jump back into the cooking arena with a new recipe. New for this blog. One of the first things I learned how to cook many years ago.
So this paella, like any paella is very easy to make and requires very few ingredients. For the making of paella featuring chicken, pork, beef or similar meats, the approach is basically the same. I grew up eating it. My mom and my aunt still make it, and though they have their own style and approach, the end result is the same at heart. Beautiful dish. Anyways, for making paella I can break down the process is 4 components. They are all basic techniques and anybody at home with a decent pan, a good knife and a cutting board should be able to prepare this dish in around 2 hours. Here we go!
Brown the meats to enrich and deepen flavour.
Pretty straight forward and basic cooking technique. I used extra virgin olive oil for this which is a bit counterintuitive. I would normally use a lighter oil with a higher smoke point better suited for searing. Olive oil can burn easily and once it burns it’s pretty much game over. Thing is lots of Spanish home cooking has been done using EVO and it give the final product a very nostalgic characteristic flavour that I wanted to retain. Just don’t let the pan get too crazy hot and keep and eye on it. Work in batches and never overcrowd that pan. You’ll end up steaming the meat instead. Using lighter olive oils is also recommended. It’s harder to burn them.
Make a sofrito.
Which is nothing fancy really. Some aromatics, mainly onions, garlic and tomato. I use tomato paste. Feel free to use tomato sauce but keep in mind that the sofrito shouldn’t be soupy. It needs to be dark and well sautéed. I delay the addition of garlic to the very end. I can’t stand burning garlic. It’s game over.
3. Render stock.
Now that we have the sofrito and the browned meats. Combine it all together. Add a ton of water and let it simmer for an hour. I love how without adding any stock this dish packs a punch of flavour. Whenever I can avoid using store-bought stock, I do it. It’s like a challenge. I love it.
4. Cook the rice.
Cooking rice can be tricky I won’t lie. I don’t rinse paella rice. I think it has the proper amount of surface starch as is. I also do it over the stove and not the oven. For pans that are less than 2 inches deep I think the stove is perfectly fine. Maybe deeper pans would require the oven so that the bottom doesn’t overcook compared to the top or even burn. Some burning at the bottom is actually nice. That crust is so good it actually has its own name. Socarrat.
Also, today I’m gonna try a recipe card plugin. One of the beauties of running your blog on the wordpress.org install. These are exciting times here at that other cooking blog!!!!!! Printable and saveable recipes! Here we go.
- 1 pound of pork meat cubed for stews
- 1 pound of chicken wings and drummettes
- 1/3 C bomba (paella) rice
- 1/2 pound green beans. Cut in 1 inch batons
- 1/2 Tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 20-30 saffron strands
- 1 Tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 Tsp garlic paste or minced garlic
- Some lemon wedges to serve it with.
- Salt to taste.
- Brown the meats on all sides. Pan over medium high heat. Work in batches. I don't salt the meat here. It's pretty pointless. Reserve when done.
- In the same pan, add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 mins. Add the Tomato paste. Cook for another 2-3 mins.
- Add green beans and cook for about 2 mins. Add the paprika, the saffron and the garlic. Cook about 15 secs. Just slightly toasted. Super quick. Add the water. Add about 1 Tsp of Kosher salt.
- Return the meat to the pan. Make sure the water covers the meat. You can raise the heat to medium. Simmer for 1 hour. Season with salt adjusting every 10 mins or so.
- Add the rice distributing it well over the area of the pan.
- The amount of liquid is key in the process of getting paella done right. Or any rice dish really. To simplify things, use about 3 cups of water per cup of rice. And I have to adjust as it cooks. Keep an eye on it. Testing the rice every 15 mins or so to guess how much time and extra water it might need. It's a pretty thirsty rice, and different brands will require slightly different water amounts.