Fischer Family Christmas Paella
About 5 years ago, my family decided to celebrate Christmas on my uncle’s boat. It was a pretty big boat, but the galley was not large enough to easily prepare a traditional holiday meal with a turkey and all the trimmings. I suggested we make Paella, a one-pot dish with rice and seafood. It was a big hit and now we make it every year! I’ve experimented a bit over the years and found that you have to be careful not to add too much shellfish, or the rice will be soggy. A wide shallow pan should be used – I’ve got a heavy 7qt. sauté pan with lid, but I think you could use a 6qt. Dutch oven in a pinch. For this dish you really need to cook over an open flame for better temperature control. If you don’t have a gas range, I suggest purchasing a butane burner; they are handy for BBQ parties or camping, and are safe for use indoors, making them handy during a power outage.
Paella de Marisco
1qt. chicken broth
1 (14.5oz.) can diced tomatoes
12oz. spicy sausage, such as andouille or linguica
4T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2½c. paella rice*
1 (14oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained (not the pickled kind)
12 steamer clams, scrubbed
12 mussels, debearded and scrubbed
1lb. large peeled, deveined prawns**
1c. frozen peas
1 lemon, sliced into wedges for serving
Put chicken broth and saffron in a medium saucepan and add the juice drained from the can of tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and turn off heat to keep warm. Slice the sausage down the middle lengthwise and then cut into ½” pieces. Cook sausage in very large saute pan over medium heat until browned, then remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Add olive oil and cook onions and bell pepper until softened – about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more, until fragrant. Add rice, drained tomatoes, and artichoke hearts and stir well to coat everything with olive oil. Pour the hot broth over the rice mixture and stir gently to evenly distribute in pan. Cover and bring to a simmer, then turn heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. (Do not peek or try to stir the rice again. Paella is best if it develops a crust on the bottom – everyone will fight over the crust!)
After the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, distribute the seafood evenly over the top and immediately replace lid. Cook for another 4-7 minutes, until some of the shellfish have opened and the prawns have begun to turn pink. Then turn off heat, scatter the frozen peas over the top, replace lid, and allow to sit another 5 minutes before serving. The paella should be served directly from the pan, with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.
If you have any leftover rice at the end of the meal, be sure to save it to use as an omelet filling for breakfast the next morning!
*If you can’t find paella rice, substitute arborio rice.
**You can use a mixture of prawns, scallops, or firm white fish cut into small portions. Just make sure the total is about 1lb., or a little more.