Friday, February 10, 2017

Shrimp and Chorizo Paella

Last Year's Post: Vietnamese Shrimp Baguette
Two Years Ago:   Coconut-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Rice

There's a gourmet cooking store in Minneapolis called Kitchen Window.  They used to have a holiday shopping event for their regular customers where they served food as everyone shopped.  One year they served this paella which had recently won a local food festival contest, and they had me at one bite.  What makes this paella so delicious is not only the combination of shrimp and chorizo, but the unusual addition of sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes.  The oil from both are used to provide additional flavor to the rice.  It's actually the best paella I've ever tasted, and it's not that hard to make at home.

Just note that if you want to have it for a party you need to invest in a paella pan large enough to hold all the ingredients.  If you cut the recipe in half, it'll fit in a large saute pan instead.  You can use the paella pan either on your cook-top or grill and it's great fun at a party.  If you really want to go all out and impress a bigger group, you can sometimes find a really giant paella pan to rent.

The only caution here is to be sure to understand the difference between Spanish and Mexican chorizo.  Mexican chorizo is a fresh bulk sausage; Spanish chorizo is a dry-cured sausage much like pepperoni.  You want Spanish chorizo for this dish.

Shrimp and Chorizo Paella
Serves 8

Note: if the recipe is cut in half it may be prepared in a large sauté pan.

1 (7 oz) jar grilled artichoke hearts packed in oil.  
1 (3 oz) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 lb extra-large shrimp
1 large onion, medium dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz Spanish hot chorizo (dry cured), paper removed and thinly sliced
2 cups paella rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika (pimento) – hot, sweet or mixed
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon saffron
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Special equipment:  8-person paella pan

Drain the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes, reserving the oil from each jar separately.  Coarsely chop the tomatoes to make approximately one cup.

Add turmeric, saffron, pimento, oregano and a small amount of salt and pepper to the chicken stock and set aside.

To prepare the shrimp, peel and devein, then remove the tail segment.  Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise (along the curve).

Add ¼ cup reserved artichoke oil and ¼ cup reserved tomato oil to the paella pan over medium heat. add the shrimp and sauté for about 1-2 minutes per side until curled, opaque, and almost cooked through.  Remove and set aside.

To the same pan, add the onion and sauté until transparent, then add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds.  Add the chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and sauté for 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock that has been combined with the spices along with the sun-dried tomatoes.  Stir once, but do not stir any more.  (This is important to build up the bottom crust which is signature to paella.)

Cook for 15 minutes, then add the artichokes and shrimp, stirring lightly into the surface.  Avoid scraping the bottom of the pan.

Cook for 5-10 more minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.  Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.  Be sure to serve each person some of the crust from the bottom of the pan.

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