About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Monday, February 6, 2012


This is a fabulous paella recipe by my friend Chuck Morn. He first produced it in spectacular fashion in a huge, authentic paella pan at a dinner event Chuck and his lovely wife, Sally, hosted.  He introduced me to, THE FLAVOR BIBLE, (not a cook book, but a what-goes-with-what book, invaluable to the serious cook) so note the fennel seed in this recipe - it makes the difference.  Want to impress? This ought to do it.

serves 10-12
2 cups long grain rice
1 large tomato
1 large yellow onion
1 jar clam juice
7-8 cups chicken stock (I make my own)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, cut to bite size
1 lb chicken breast in approx. 1.5” cubes
2 lb mussels
1 lb small clams
1 lb large shrimp
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Approx .007 oz saffron
8 oz frozen peas
Sauté the onion in a large (paella) pan. When almost done, add the rice and stir and sauté on medium for 5 minutes. Add the tomato, clam juice, saffron and fennel seeds.

In a separate pan brown the chicken and the sausage (don’t cook through), and add these to the paella pan. I do this in the morning, and cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator so that when the guests arrive, there is less cooking to do.

Reheat the pan, or continue. Add the chicken stock (in several batches) and simmer on low heat, uncovered. When most of the liquid is absorbed (should be about 20 minutes), add the clams, mussels and peas. Stir, but set aside some half shells for the top. Add the shells and the shrimp on the top and arrange in a pretty pattern. Put the paella pan in a 400 degree oven uncovered for 6-10 minutes until the shrimp and shellfish appear to be done. Carefully present the paella pan to your guests before serving (this is traditional).

Note: I actually smoke and shell the mussels (leaving 6-8 on the half shell for the top) and add after the clams, which can take longer to cook depending on the size.

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