It's a thank you paella. Well, technically it's paella Valenciana, but it was made as a gesture of appreciation. Unlike seafood paella, the Valencian version is land-based so there's chicken, sausage, snails (supposedly the garden variety, but I had big sea snails on hand for Vietnamese snail noodle soup), artichokes, green beans, butter beans, and peas.
And of course, all cooked together in a pan of saffron rice.
As I was saying, I injured my foot earlier this month. I stepped on something in my kitchen, and you know how you place one foot on top of the other to dislodge it? Well, without looking to see what it was, that's what I did. All of a sudden, I felt something wet, looked down, and saw a big pool of black. I stupidly stared as it got bigger and bigger, wondering how I spilled soy sauce, when I realized that I had cut myself with a jagged piece of glass. I had recently broken a jar and apparently missed a piece in the clean-up. And in attempting to dislodge it from the the bottom of one foot, I had jabbed the glass deeply into the top of the other foot.
Luckily, I had just washed my kitchen towels so I wadded up a dishcloth to staunch the blood. It soaked up fast! So I folded up another dishcloth for padding, then rolled a third to tie into a makeshift tourniquet. That seemed to do the trick and the blood stopped gushing out.
I hobbled over to my living room and sat there with my foot elevated on the arm of the sofa. A few minutes after I sat down, my youngest aunt knocked on my door with my youngest Argentinian girl cousin. Oh, was she in town visiting, I asked? Nope. She and her husband had enough of Michigan's cold winters and decided to move to SoCal two months ago. Huh?! Sooo random!
After my aunt and cousin left, I messaged Tony of SinoSoul because freak accident + unexpected visitors = randomly weird evening. Instead, he freaked out himself, so he and the missus left the movie theater, and promptly appeared on my door step with hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic cream, and butterfly bandages.
Awww. With friends like that, obviously I needed to thank them with something special.
I tried not to make too much of a deal of it, but the cut was actually quite deep and I hobbled around for a week because I couldn't put any pressure on my foot. I mean, sure I could've asked for help, but it was really touching to have friends who responded quickly without prompting.
The inspiration for this dish actually came from these pans.
Technically, they're not paella pans since they have curved instead of sloped sides. I bought them from the thrift store for $9.95 the last time I was in Oregon visiting my parents. They're made in Yugoslavia and are missing a handle that is detachable and can attach to all three pans. Anyone know what they're used for? I figured I could make paella or German Oven Pancakes or individual Banh Mi Hot Ga Op La (Vietnamese French Bread with Sunnyside-Up Eggs).
I chose to make paella Valenciana because the ingredients were already in my kitchen, as opposed to going out to buy shrimp and mussels for the seafood version. Actually, except for the saffron in the recipe, I could totally see how people said Creole Jambalaya with Chicken and Sausage arose from paella.
Paella Valenciana (Spanish Valencian Pan Rice)
Inspired by Wikipedia's paella Valenciana
For a 10-inch pan, which serves 4 to 6, you'll need:
Half a dozen saffron threads, soaked in 1 cup hot water
1 small onion, diced
1 small sausage of your choice, about 1/4 lb, cut into 1/4-inch coins
1 small chicken boneless breasts or thighs, about 1/4 lb, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup butter beans
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1/4 cup green beans, cut into 2-inch segments
1/4 cup peas
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup snails
Soak saffron threads in 1 cup hot water. I accidentally pulled out too many saffron threads, so it's up to you how many you want to use.
Dice 1 small onion and saute in olive oil on medium heat until softened.
Dice and slice the sausage and chicken and add it to the pan.
When the meats are slightly charred, add two tomatoes, reserving the third for later.
Add the butter beans, green beans, peas, and artichokes.
Then add 1 1/2 cups rice. Traditionally, bomba rice is used for paella, but the short round grains reminded me of Japanese rice, so that's what I used.
Add 1/2 tsp salt and saute the rice until it's evenly mixed with the meat and vegetables in the pan.
Add the snails last so they don't overcook.
Then pour the saffron water into the pan and let the mixture cook on medium-low heat. You want just enough water that you can see it at the point of the mixture, but not to the rim of the pan.
The paella takes about 30 minutes to cook.
Check every once in a while to make sure it hasn't burnt or if more water needs to be added, but ideally, you shouldn't need to disturb the pan. When the paella is almost ready, arrange the third tomato wedges into an attractive shape.
Is it pretty? :)
Plate and serve to friends to thank them for taking care of you.
Other Spanish recipes:
Baked Goat Cheese on Pesto and Tomato Sauce
Chickpeas with Sausage, Raisins, and Walnuts
Sangria with Red Wine
Sangria with White Wine
Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Potato Omelet)
1 year ago today, inside the secret club at Disneyland, Club 33 - Disneyland - Anaheim.
2 years ago today, a gift of mignon dahlia bulbs.
3 years ago today, Quattro Porcini Pasta (Italian Four Mushroom Pasta).