If you told me three years ago that by August 2019 I would be painfully single, working full time as a photographer, writing a food blog, and cooking for 15 people every week… Well I’d probably believe you honestly. Isn’t that kind of Murphy’s law, anything that can happen will? I never could have imagined that my life would turn out the way that is has, and the people that continuously lift me up and inspire me are by all means not who I would have expected. I would love to name drop everyone and gush about their lives and how they have changed mine but they would probably conspire to murder me at dinner tomorrow if I did. Except for probably Carolyn, she’s fully okay with the entire world knowing that when my ex and I broke up she actually picked me up off of my bedroom floor and carried me to the closest wine bar. “What, if anything, does this have to do with your food blog?” you ask. Nothing. Here’s a recipe for paella in a cast iron skillet:
The first time I made paella this winter I totally fudged the Sofrito, which is the most time consuming but fully the most essential part of this recipe.
Things you will need for Sofrito (this is a double batch, using the rest this week for Fajitas, it’s supposed to be good for two weeks in the fridge):
1 28oz can petit diced tomatoes
2 red bell peppers finely diced
1 Anaheim pepper (it looked fun why the heck not) finely diced
1 onion (red, yellow, whatever) finely diced
6 or so garlic cloves, finely diced
1 loose cup of chopped cilantro
1 cup (chicken, beef, veggie) stock
1 cup white wine
Oil a skillet the onion, peppers, and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add all other ingredients and salt to taste. I cooked this on low for about and hour and a half, it should be the thickness of tomato paste, but add more liquid at your discretion. Its honestly delicious by itself, De and I were eating it hot on tortilla chips. I put the finished product in a mason jar, saved for later in the evening.
Paella Time (this served 8):
2 cups bomba rice
2 cups sofrito
18 ish threads of saffron soaked in 1/4 cup white wine (seen above)
1 tsp paprika
1 onion (red, white, whatever) sliced, julienned, do what you feel
1 red pepper sliced, julienned
1/2 cup fancy mushrooms (what does this even mean kat?) I used small hearty crunchy guys that I found at the hong kong market, something that can hold up to being boiled in broth
1 lb smoked sausage, I used green onion, cut in rounds and then quartered
1 lb chicken thighs, cut in half
1/2 lb shrimp, I used frozen
6 cups (chicken, beef, veggie) stock
salt to taste
The essential things in this recipe are the bomba rice, the sofrito, the saffron, the paprika, and the stock. Put literally whatever else you want in here. Make it vegetarian, make it all meat, get lobster, go crazy.
If you have two skillets use both, the smaller to cook off your proteins and the larger for the paella itself. If you only have the one, plan on cleaning out the skillet after you cook the proteins. Oil your smaller skillet and crisp off your smoked sausage, set aside. In the same skillet cook your chicken thighs: about three minutes on each side on high heat. They will be raw in the middle, set aside. Cook your shrimp about two minutes on each side, also will be raw in the middle, set aside. I used a 12 inch cast iron for the paella, it will be very full, but the great thing about paella is you aren’t really supposed to stir it, so your pan can be full to the brim. Combine the bomba rice, sofrito, saffron soaked in wine, paprika, and raw veggies in the cast iron and combine until the bomba rice is sufficiently covered in sofrito and the saffron-wine has been mixed in. Add in your stock and bring to a boil. Add in all proteins except for fish. Get it all situated in the pan to where you’re comfortable not touching it and bring down to a simmer, it takes about 20-25 minutes to cook the bomba rice. Ideally you want the rice to have a slight bite, but most of the stock to be cooked down. Add your fish to the top of the dish, about five minutes before your rice is done, and nestle into the steam to finish cooking. Serve with bread, salad, wine. Top with more cilantro.