The secret to crunchy bottom Paella or a fond is found below!
I don’t know why…but most Spanish restaurants do not serve their Paella with that crunchy caramelized bottom (a fond) that I’ve come to love. Maybe that’s why I prefer to make my own Paella.
Paella is a fun rice and meat dish to serve right out of the pan. It’s a great entertaining dish because you finish it in front of your guests (not before because you don’t want to overcook the shrimp).
In the past, I’ve prepared Paella in a deep pan, in a wok, and this time, for the first time, in a Paella Pan. It was a little better than a wok and definitely a better result than in a regular pan. But if all you have is a regular pan, then just make it in that. I doubt you’ll notice a big difference.
The fun thing about a Paella is that you can use many different types of seafood or even skinless chicken with no seafood. My first foray into Paella preparation was in a cooking class where we added snails…actually was pretty tasty! I found the scallops were a bit too delicate and will probably just use shrimp and chicken the next time I prepare this.
Enjoy Your Paella!
- 1-2 teaspoons freshly ground coarse black pepper
- 2-3 teaspoons sweet Spanish paprika (good quality)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-6 chicken thighs
- *Spanish Chorizo, crumbled and cooked – 8-10 ounces
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- ½ lb shrimp, shelled and cleaned
- ½ lb scallops (or other shellfish)
- 1 ½ cups Spanish short-grained rice (or use Italian short-grained rice)
- 1/2 cup very finely minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (2 cans)
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 6-8 ounces asparagus or green beans cut in 1/2-inch lengths
- 10 small red and yellow bell peppers sliced into rings
- 1 bag frozen peas – thawed
- Dust seafood and chicken with a blend of Paprika, pepper and salt (to taste). Put aside remaining spice blend.
- In a large, heavy pan or paella pan with a tight-fitting lid – heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook thoroughly. Pull from pan and put aside.
- Sear the seafood quickly in the hot oil – do not cook through! Put aside in a separate bowl. Cook the chicken for about 4-5 minutes, then turn. Put aside in a separate bowl.
- Add the onions to the pan and cook on low for about 8-10 minutes. Add the rice and half of the parsley, stirring to coat the rice thoroughly with oil. Add the chicken stock, wine, saffron and remaining paprika spice mix.
- Add back in the chicken and the chorizo. Stir well.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Lift the cover, embed the peas, seafood, half of the peppers and asparagus or green beans in the rice and cover again, cooking for 5-10 more minutes.
- Arrange the rest of the peppers in the rice in a decorative pattern.
- Cover, and cook for 5 minutes more, or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just cooked. Serve at the table out of the cooking vessel, sprinkling the portions with the remaining parsley.
For a crispier bottom, fire up the heat right at the end and cook until crispy but not burned.
*Make sure you buy “Spanish Chorizo”, not the Mexican kind. I find mine in a health food market. If you can’t find the Spanish kind then use a different spicy sausage.