One of the most fun days of my life was two years ago when B and I were in Barcelona and I helped a Spanish chef make paella by the beach. It was a perfectly sunny day at the end of our vacation and yes, it was just as dreamy as it sounds. We ate so well on that trip but it’s the paella that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since.
Fast forward 24 months and I finally made my own here at home. Not as dreamy on a rainy, grey evening in the West Village, but the dish was just as delicious. Almost.
I won’t sugarcoat this: paella takes forever to make. For-e-ver. It’s worth it, yes, but you have to be prepared for this undertaking. You must have the time, the patience, and a few different pots and pans ready. I made my own mushroom broth a la Bobby Flay’s recipe for Bon Appetit, but you can save yourself a ton of the hassle by using a box of vegetable broth instead. I know the homemade broth added a lot of flavor — I’m glad I made it — but you can easily make up for it by adding more spices or veggies.
I also chose to forgo the egg and instead use shrimp and mussels, mainly because B’s not the biggest egg fan and I thought the seafood would make it a heartier meal, but feel free to add any meat, fish or other vegetables. Paella can be whatever you want it to be… but this way, with mushrooms, kale, mussels and shrimp… PERFECTO.
- 8 TBSP olive oil
- 1 box vegetable stock (or homemade mushroom broth)
- 1.5 pounds crimini mushrooms, quartered
- salt + pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 poblano chile, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 3 TBSP minced garlic
- 1.5 cups short grain Spanish rice (such as Bomba)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 bunch small kale, stems removed, chopped
- 1/2 pound mussels
- 1/2 pound shrimp, deveined and peeled
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2 TBSP oil in a 12” paella pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until they release their liquid, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are golden brown and tender, 5–7 minutes longer; season with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate.
- If you are not making your own mushroom broth, then put entire box of vegetable stock in a saucepan and keep warm on stovetop.
- Add 2 TBSP oil to pan and cook onion, pepper, and chile, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about a minute more; season with salt and pepper.
- Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until completely evaporated, about 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and add mushroom stock just to cover rice. Cook, without stirring, adding broth as needed to keep rice moist while cooking, until rice is al dente and all liquid is absorbed, 15–20 minutes. (Shake pan after adding more stock to distribute evenly.)
- Continue to cook paella, occasionally moving pan around burner to make sure all areas get evenly heated, until a crust (socarrat) forms around the sides and bottom of the pan, about 6–8 more minutes.
- Meantime, heat remaining 2 TBSP oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kale and cook, tossing, until wilted. Spoon over paella.
- In that pan you cooked the kale, heat another 2 TBSP oil and lightly cook mussels and shrimp for 2-3 minutes until mussels open and shrimp begins to pink. Spoon both on top of kale/paella.
- Transfer pan to oven and cook paella another 8–10 minutes until shrimp is cooked through.
- Serve in pan. ENJOY.
Again, I made my own mushroom broth, but feel free to use boxed vegetable stock. If you’d like to make your own, follow these instructions.
A Recipe From Jamie Shupak | www.thetvdinner.com