Two Brooks Farm

producers of Mississippi Blue Rice

Wagners PaellaTallahatchie's Top  Paella

Paella may be the most elevated form whereby rice can be presented.  It is all about the rice.  However, it is also a quiet comfort dish that speaks volumes of rice’s preeminence in integrating itself with other foods.  It is unparalleled in its propensity for commingling with other foods, and is always the best neighbor on any plate.  Paella provides the ultimate exposure of this trait. 
We’ve made hundreds of these over the years with about any type of rice you can source.  We’ve made seafood paellas with nothing but succulent shellfish, and meat paellas with anything from ham to wild boar to chicken to wild rabbits—it’s all good.   However, our family’s and friend’s favorite is always a mixed seafood and meat paella made with our brown rice.  With its longer cooking time, it is more challenging than using our long grain white rice or any calasparra or bomba rice; but with that, it more subtly and deeply imbibes the flavors of its paella pan pals while expressing its own firm texture and nutty flavors in healthy fashion.   If using white rice, adjust our recipe’s cooking time accordingly.
You may use other meats (I’ve even added pre-smoked baby back pork ribs), but regardless of whether they are from land or sea, you will be better served if they are known to have a firm finished cooked texture.
The following recipe is fashioned for our 17 inch paella pan with a 25 quart water capacity that feeds about 15, with blessed leftovers for lunch.  Please discover your pan’s dimensions, and calibrate recipe inputs to those dimensions.  We cook ours over a wood fired farm built cooker designed for the task, but yours will likely go to the oven—make sure your dish size will fit the method; little is more frustrating than discovering your paella pan won’t fit inside your oven (although I have successfully cooked then on a stove’s eye)! .   Your dish will shine by using quality meats and seafood, the best saffron you can source, and our Beulah Land Tan or Beulah Land Medley Brown Rice.

INGREDIENTS
   the meats
5 pounds deboned and skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
3 pounds large shrimp, shell off and deveined
2 pounds quality smoked sausage or chorizo, cut in ¼ inch slices
½ pound cured ham, cut in small pieces
3 10 ounce cans baby clams, drained and juice retained
1 pound mussels, scrubbed clean
Pepper and paprika for seasoning
Oil for cooking
   the sofrito
6 ribs celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
4 tbsp garlic, minced
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
6 scallions, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
6 ounces pitted ripe olives
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, fresh chopped
  For the dish
4 cups ecogrown Beulah Land Tan or Beulah Land Medley Brown Rice
4 ounces sweet peas
8 cups chicken stock
2 or 3 grams (good pinch) quality saffron, fresh mortar and pestle ground
2 lemons, cut to wedges for garnish

METHOD

     Over open fire
1) Prepare the meats.   Season the chicken with black pepper and paprika.  Deep fry or skillet fry in batches until done.  Set aside.  Fry the smoked sausage in the same manner, setting aside when done.
2) Decide cooking method.  If with wood fire, light; if in oven, preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  If with outdoor propane cooking ring, wait until paella assembly to light.
3) Prepare the sofrito.  In large stockpot, heat olive oil fry ham pieces until done.  Add and warm the garlic.  Add the celery, onion, bell peppers, olives, and rosemary; sauté until onions translucent.  Add tomatoes and occasionally stir until most of liquid is evaporated and spoon will stand in the middle.  Stir in scallions and set aside.
4) Prepare for assembly and cooking.  In large stockpot, add the reserved clam juice and enough broth to equal 9 cups liquid total and heat to simmer.  Pour heated stock into paella pan, add rice and saffron, and blend well.  Add cooked sofrito and clams and blend in well; after this point, do not disturb rice by stirring any more.  Add sausage and chicken pieces, pressing them into rice.  Add shrimp, submerging them in stock.  Add mussels, orienting them so that when they open, that opening will point up.  Top with peas.  Place filled paella pan on your fire source, paella cooker, or in oven.  Cook for 45 to 55 minutes, or until liquid absorbed and rice is cooked with a firm but done center (check rice doneness and liquid level as it may be necessary to add heated water in ½ cup increments).   When done, remove pan from cooking source, cover with light towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  When plating, check bottom of pan for the socarrat, or light crust that one hopes to develop, sharing with all—it is the crown jewel of the dish.  Garnish with a squeeze of lemon, and ENJOY!

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