Three 1-pound live lobsters
1 ½ pounds (22 to 23) large raw shrimps in their shells
24 small hard-shelled clams
1 pound garlic-seasoned, smoked pork sausage
One 1 ½ - to 2-pound chicken, cut into 12 serving pieces
or use 6 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil
2 ounces lean boneless pork, cut into ¼ -inch cubes
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 medium-sized sweet red or green pepper, seeded,
and cut into strips, 1½ - inches-long and ¼ -inch -wide
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, or
substitute ¾ cup chopped, drained, canned tomatoes
3 cups raw medium or long-grain white rice
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, pulverized with a mortar & pestle
6 cups boiling water or homemade chicken broth
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
2 (4-oz.) cans pimentos, sliced, for color
2 lemons, each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
Feel free to vary the combination of chicken, meats and
shellfish. You may omit the lobster
altogether or replace it with 6 or 8 additional shrimp.
Clams and mussels may be used interchangeably.
First prepare the shellfish. You may want to ask the fish market to cut up the lobster. If not, use a cleaver to chop off the tail section where it joins the body and twist off the large claws. Leave shell on.
Prepare lobster as you prefer. In some recipes lobster is sautéed prior to being added to paella for final cooking. You may choose to steam it briefly.
Shell the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Devein, if necessary. Scrub the clams and mussels thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold running water; remove the black, ropelike tufts from the mussels. Set all aside.
Place the sausages in an 8- to 10-inch skillet and prick them in two or three places. Add cold water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and slice them into ¼ -inch rounds.
Pat the chicken dry, remove skin and season pieces with 1
teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper. In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil
over high heat until a light haze forms above it.
Add the chicken and brown it well, turning the pieces with tongs and
regulating the heat so they color evenly without burning.
Remove browned chicken pieces to a plate.
If using fresh tomatoes--
Drop the fresh tomatoes into a pan of boiling water and let them boil briskly for about 10 seconds. Run cold water over them, and with a small, sharp knife peel them. Cut out the stems, then slice the tomatoes in half crosswise. Squeeze the halves gently to remove the seeds and juices, and chop the tomatoes as finely as possible. (Canned tomatoes need only be thoroughly drained and chopped.)
To make the sofrito, discard all the fat remaining in the skillet and in its place add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil. Heat oil until a light haze forms above it, add the pork and brown it quickly on all sides over high heat. Add onions, garlic, pepper strips and chopped tomato. Stirring constantly, cook briskly until most of the liquid in the pan evaporates and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape lightly in a spoon. Set the sofrito aside.
About a forty-five minutes before you plan to serve the paella, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a 14-inch paella pan or a skillet or casserole at least 14 inches in diameter and 2- to 2 ½ -inches deep, combine the sofrito, rice, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and the pulverized saffron. Pour in the hot stock or boiling water and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat immediately. (Carefully taste the hot liquid for seasoning and add more if necessary.)
Arrange the chicken, lobster, sausage, shrimp, clams and mussels on top of the rice and scatter the peas* at random over the whole. Set the pan on the floor of the oven and bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice and the grains are tender but
not too soft. At no point should the paella be stirred after it goes in the oven.
When the paella is done, remove it from the oven and drape
a kitchen towel loosely over the top.
Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Then garnish the paella with the lemons and serve at the table directly from the pan.
*Since we prefer our peas on the rare side, I usually
wait to add them until about ten minutes before I plan to remove the paella from
the oven. Just do not have the oven
door open very long during this time while the rice is cooking.
Serve with a salad, a good, crusty French bread and a light dessert.
(Adapted from Time-Life's International Series: Cooking
This recipe has been kitchen tested.
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