Because we've been out of town so many weekends lately, J and I jump at the opportunity to spend quality time together at home on the weekends we don't have plans. We realized we really enjoy making meals together, so when we do have a night to relax and unwind, cooking together helps us reconnect after the long day. The wine helps, too. :P
Last time J and I cooked together we set the bar outrageously high by making one of our favorite meals to date: Oh So Good-o Osso Buco! Not trying to brag... but I'm bragging...
This time, we ventured west of the Italian border, across gorgeous France, and into Spain to make the most famous dish of the culture: Paella!
We had originally planned our "at home date night" for this coming Friday, but while buying the live clams I realized those babies weren't going to last 3 days in the fridge so I texted J, "Change of plans! Date night is happening TONIGHT!"
I was at my sister's house party planning that afternoon and was concerned that we were going to be cooking this thing until 9 p.m., but it actually took just a little under an hour to prep & cook. Not too shabby!
We found this recipe in one of our favorite cookbooks: Two in the Kitchen: A Cookbook for Newlyweds. If you don't already have this book, stop what you're doing, click the picture below, and buy it. I'll wait for you....
Glad you're back. Technically, they have this recipe as one to make for dinner guests since it makes a whole lot, but since we love leftovers, we made it for us to enjoy for a few days.
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb of Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped (We used green, but the original recipe calls for red.)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups of long-grain Basmati rice
- 1/2 tsp of saffron threads, optional (Luckily we had some leftover from our Osso Buco dish. If you have this or are willing to invest in purchasing some, I highly recommend it! It added depth to the flavors.)
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 to 2 lbs of clams
- 1 lb of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Steps for Spanish Paella:
1. In a large frying pan or paella pan, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until browned, turning occasionally.
2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the rice to the pan, along with saffron, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring until the rice grains are coated.
4. Pour in the broth and add a little more salt. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce to low heat, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid. It should take no more than 20 minutes. Our rice ended up cooking a tad bit faster. We checked it at 15 minutes and it was ready.
5. Press the clams hinge side down into the rice. Spread the shrimp over the rice and top with peas. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque and the clams have opened. Our clams took a lot longer than the 5 minutes the recipe said to open up. I think we had ours covered for an additional 10 minutes to get most of the clams open. We eventually had to discard a few since they just weren't having it.
6. Discard any clams that have not opened and serve.
We're interested in trying a new country's signature dish. Have one in mind for us? Leave it in the comments below!