After the practice round in New York, I took my Spanish feast de camino last week to my family in Rochester.
Pintxos Dos proved to be a more relaxed and casual affair than the first round, as I was able to scale back the menu for 5 – Mom, Mom’s boyfriend Paul, Mr. Will (brother) and Miss Tao (cat).
Even though Upstate is not known for its vast selection of ethnic foods, Wegmans did not disappoint, providing duck, iberico bellota, rabbit, calve’s liver, salt cod and manchego.
I was amazed that Morcilla was the only item to stump “the Roc,” and I have a feeling that if I had only known the right hunter I could have come through on it anyhow…
Olives, home-curred with lemon
Illegally imported Spanish sausage (ssssshh, don’t tell)
Jamon Iberico Bellota
Anchoas en aceite con ajo (thank you Olindo’s)
Tarta de Chorizo con huevos de codorniz (thank you Lee’s Oriental Food for the Quail Eggs)
Croquetas de jamon (Wegman’s Parma, I was saving money)
Croquetas de bacalao
Atun con aji picante
Paté de hígado de Calvé con balsámico
Creme Catalan con frambuesas
Cava y Vino Tinto
A fine Yellow Tail Merlot, courtesy Paul
After a slow start – some general nervousness about the spread of potential “bait” and offal, the Paella arrived to the relief of all.
Mainly Paul’s relief that there were only identifiable foods included, and my relief that after 3 failed attempts, I had finally managed to create something edible.
Paella Pais (Country Paella)
To make this correctly, a Paella Pan is required. These can be bought inexpensively at Sur La Table (the pans pictured were only $11!)
If no pan is available, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet can suffice. Most important is the low/wide-surface shape. Trust me, high sides ruin everything.
This recipe assumes a 4-person paella pan,* or standard 12″ cast iron skillet.
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp pureed fresh tomato (peeled)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb game meat, like duck breast, rabbit, chicken (whatever you like), diced
1 piece Chorizo Picante, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
1 & 1/2 cups rice (traditionally Spanish Bomba, but Arborio is a fine substitute)
3 cups chicken stock (heated to boiling)
1/2 tsp saffron
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat chicken stock on the stove in a small pot, once it boils, turn off heat and drop in saffron to steep.
Pre heat oven to 350.
While stock simmers, heat Paella pan on medium-high heat and add olive oil.
When oil is hot, add tomato and allow to fry a couple of minutes.
Add garlic and fry till you can smell the garlic cooking.
Add Chorizo and game meat and cook until well browned on all sides.
Pour dry rice into pan and toss gently until the rice begins to toast and pop.
Add hot chicken stock and cook until the pan comes to a boil. To avoid over-stirring rice, use a spatula to scrape under rice and loosen from the bottom without disturbing the top too much.
Once boiling, place pan in oven and bake 30-40 minutes until rice is cooked through. You can top the dish with a few peas or green beans on the way to the oven if you like, to add a bit of color. (The Spanish leave the pan on the burner to cook through, but with less than perfect equipment, the oven cheat will avoid ruining you dinner like my 3 attempts – raw and burnt are not so tasty)
To serve, bring pan to table and dig in.
*Mom and Will, your pans are 6-person 1.5x this.
From failure to 4-banger!
Miss Tao of course prefers the finest Iberico Bellota to any other nutrient, but managed to eat her weight in poached chicken left over from my stock.
Cat, you are a pleasure to feed.