Chip and I first had paella while on our honeymoon. As I mentioned in this other post, we took a cruise through the Mediterranean that left from Barcelona. After spending the afternoon exploring Barcelona, we made our way back to where we were staying in Las Ramblas. We found a small cafe just blocks away from our hotel, ordered ourselves some sangria, paella and pizza (the pizza was Chip’s order… he was a little skeptical about foreign food at first). It didn’t take long for Chip to realize my dinner choice of paella was better and we soon split the rest of that dish and left the pizza aside. Now whenever we think about our day in Spain, it almost always brings up the memory of having paella and sangria outside, enjoying the view with a bit of jetlag.
We tried to make paella for ourselves once last summer… it wasn’t that great. We should have known the taste would be a little off when the recipe called for the dish to be baked, instead of cooked over the stove like traditional paella. The consistency was too watery and the flavor just wasn’t there. So we decided we would have to search for another recipe in the future.
Fast forward to this past week: we knew we were going to purchase Les Mis as soon as it was available on DVD on Friday, so we thought a nice dinner at home would be a fun way to end the week. Chip suggested trying to make paella again, which of course, would have to be accompanied with sangria. A tasty meal and a musical? That’s pretty much all the convincing I need!
We did some searching on Pinterest and found what looked like a promising recipe. You guys, it was delicious. We will definitely be making this again! It was also a great chance to use our Le Creuset dutch oven for the first time, which we absolutely loved. It cooked the food so evenly and was surprisingly easy to clean afterwards, which is always a nice bonus. As for the sangria, after playing with a bunch of different recipes, I think we finally discovered the perfect traditional sangria recipe. Chip took one sip and said it tasted just as good as the sangria at La Fogata, so I think we have a winner.
Below is the recipe for the paella with our modifications. If you’d like to see the original recipe we were working from, click here.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- Minced garlic, 4 cloves
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into long thin strips
- 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 dried chilli’s, crushed
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups paella/Spanish rice
- 2 cups chicken broth (hot)
- 1 cup water (hot)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Sausage – we used HEB’s jalapeno sausage
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- Heat the olive oil in a container (large enough to hold everything) and saute the onions until soft and fragrant.
- Add the garlic and continue sauteing for a few more minutes.
- Add the zucchini and bell pepper. Cook on medium heat until the veggies are slightly cooked, stirring in between.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and continue stirring.
- Add the paprika, turmeric, cumin powder, crushed dried chilli’s, and red pepper flakes. Combine well, making sure the veggies are all coated well.
- Add the paella/Spanish rice and mix well, about 3 to 4 minutes, until the rice begins to slightly crackle.
- Add the hot chicken broth and hot water. Stir, then close the lid and cook on medium to high flame until the rice is cooked through (this took about 10 minutes for us on medium heat). If it starts burning or sticking to the pot, pour some more water. Its okay if the mix is lightly mushy and loose, that’s how the consistency should be.
- While the rice is cooking, in a separate pan cook the sausage for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the shrimp and cook on high for another several minutes.
- Add the frozen peas to the rice mixture about three minutes before taking the pot off of the flame.
- Add the meat and stir well just before serving.