I had another cooking demonstration at the Le Creuset in Sandestin, Florida on Saturday!
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. I received the Le Creuset paella pan and other products following the cooking demonstration. All comments and opinions are my own.
This time, I was featuring Le Creuset’s Paella Pan. This cast iron pan has a matte black enamel finish and is 13 1/2 inches wide (17 1/2 with the handles). It is shallow and wide, which is essential to making paella. I also see it being great for frittata and other dishes that require a large, flat surface.
Of course, the first dish I made in the Paella Pan was Paella. Paella (the word directly translates to “pan”) is a Valencian dish combining short grain rice with meat (or seafood), vegetables, and seasoning. The additions to Paella may vary based on the area and family, but there are three basic versions. Paella Valenciana (Valencian Paella) is the original paella and made from chicken, rabbit, maybe snails or duck, beans, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, garlic, and olive oil. Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella) adds varied seafood to the rice and vegetables. Paella Mixta (Mixed Paella) was created by outside influences on the Valencian Paella and combines meat and seafood.
Before testing out this pan, I had never attempted to make paella. It was on my bucket list, but I was quite intimidated. Paella requires a few specialty (and expensive) ingredients that I had never worked with (plus a new pan that I had never worked with) and during the trial run, I was worried about ruining the entire dish. I am so happy to say that the paella turned out beautifully. The top of the paella was light and barely moist with a crisp layer at the bottom. I enjoy shrimp, but am not the biggest fan of other seafood. This was the first time I had even touched a mussel- had to google search how to purchase and clean them prior. I did give them a try, but the texture is still a bit much for me. Evan didn’t like them either, but he wasn’t feeling well during the trial run so I will see if he likes them next time. Chad was happy to have them all to himself.
Paella is not risotto. Stir as little as possible here, so you get a crispy layer to form on the bottom. If using mussels, buy them the day you make the paella if at all possible. They should be alive and fresh. Don’t use any that are chipped or broken. If they are open at all, gently tap them so they close. If they don’t close, toss them out. Right before putting them in the paella, scrub them clean and pull or cut off the beards towards the hinge. Place them in the paella hinge side down, so they have room to open.
The type of rice used for Paella needs to be a short grain Spanish rice. Bomba (sometimes labelled Valencia rice) is the best type to use. It is nearly round and absorbs more liquid than other varieties of rice. Calasparra can also be used. I was able to find Bomba rice in the international food section of a nearby grocery store. It is also available on Amazon, but on the expensive side compared to if you were able to find it locally: Matiz Valenciano Premium Bomba Paella Rice.
Piquillo (Spanish for “little beaks”) peppers are a type of red chili pepper from Northern Spain. Their taste is similar to roasted bell peppers with a little more spice. They can be found in many larger grocery stores in the specialty section roasted in jars. They are also available on Amazon: Roland Whole Piquillo Peppers. If unavailable, substitute with roasted red bell peppers.
Spanish Chorizo is a type of smoked or cured sausage seasoned with paprika. Based on the type of seasoning, it can be spicy or sweet. It is available in the specialty or deli section of many larger grocery stores and I was able to find it in a local specialty cheese shop. Do not substitute with Mexican Chorizo, a completely different product.
Pimentón is a Spanish paprika made from ground chile peppers. The flavor varies based on the type of pepper used. It can be Dulce (sweet), Agridulce (mild) or even Picante (hot). It is available in the spice or international food section of many larger grocery stores or on Amazon: Chiquilin Smoked Paprika Tin and Sweet Spanish Smoked Paprika.
Paella Mixta (Spanish Paella with Seafood and Meat) Recipe
Adapted from La Tienda
Paella Mixta (Spanish Paella with Seafood and Meat)
- 3 cups strong chicken broth bouillon
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- 1/8 teaspoon Pimentón smoked Spanish paprika
- 1 medium onion divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 pound boneless chicken cut into bite size pieces
- 4 ounces Spanish chorizo cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 roasted piquillo pepper finely diced
- 1/2 pound small-medium shrimp shelled
- 1 1/2 cups short grain Spanish rice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf crumbled
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 ounces green peas
- 9 clams or mussels scrubbed
- 4 jumbo shrimp with shells on
- salt to taste
- 1 lemon cut into wedges for garnish
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- In a small pot, combine broth, saffron, Pimentón, and a 1/4 piece of the onion over medium heat. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Discard onion. Keep over low heat.
- In a 13 1/2 wide paella pan, drizzle olive oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring often, until golden and no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate.
- Add the chorizo slices and cook, stirring often, until lightly fried. Chop the rest of the onion and add to the chorizo. Stir in the scallions, garlic, and piquillo peppers. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened and translucent. Stir in the shrimp and cook until just pink. Remove the shrimp to the plate with the chicken. Stir in the rice, coating it in the oil. Add the parsley and bay leaf.
- Add the hot chicken broth, wine, and peas. Season with salt and mix just until everything is distributed. Once the stock is boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook, undisturbed, until most of the stock has absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Evenly bury the chicken and shrimp in the rice. Press the mussels, hinge side down, a little into the rice so they are standing. Place the 4 shell-on shrimp on top of the rice. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and steam until the mussels have opened and shrimp are pink, about 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and cover with foil. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Serve warm with lemon wedges and parsley.