Chorizo and Jamón Serrano "Almost" Paella

I am going to spare you of telling how Paella is a traditional Spanish dish and its story.   And despite the fact I had lots of "Paella"  that really tasted just like this, and had the same ingredients, while I was in Spain I was quite reluctant to call this recipe Paella :-)

Before anyone comments anything, in defense of the Gallego blood that runs in my veins: I know that the original Paella is not made of seafood, Chorizo or ham.  The traditional Paella is made with Chicken and Rabbit.   Actually If I remember well, there is even an eternal argument if it should have Onions or not... anyway,  I know really well how fiery this discussion can get so for my own sake I am not calling it Paella.

I also refuse to call it "rice with things" as a friend (Spanish of course) once suggested :) therefore I am officially baptizing it as Rachel's Almost Paella :-)

My Almost Paella is made with beautiful vegetables, Chorizo and if the budget allows some Jamon Serrano (If it's two out of your budget just use a good Spanish Chorizo).

One thing anyone that makes Paella (and Almost Paella :-)) will agree is that once you stir all the ingredients and the rice, you should not stir it again.    The rice is meant to be loose and intact and stirring it will ruin that crispy burnt rice bit on the bottom of the Paellera, the Socarrat. 

Perfect Meal for a long Sunday Lunch washed down with several glasses of Rioja.

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Chorizo and Jamón Serrano Almost Paella
Serves: 6 Cost:$$$ | Difficulty:  Medium| Time: 1h
Author:Adapted From CocinadelMundo

Ingredients
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus some to drizzle
  • 175g Mild Smoked Spanish Chorizo
  • 175g Jamón Serrano (Serrano Ham) cut in cubes
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (pimentón dulce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tomatoes with no skin or seeds cubed
  • 1/2 red capsicum sliced in fine stripes
  • 1/2 green capsicum sliced in fine stripes
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum sliced in fine stripes
  • 350g short grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 1/2 cup cooked Lima beans
  • 1/2 cup green beans chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • 1.2l Boiling Chicken Stock (good quality or homemade)
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the Saffron in a small bowl and cover with the hot water. Leave it soaking while you start the paella.
  2. Heat a Paellera over high heat. 
  3. Stir in the chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate. 
  4. Add the ham to the pan and cook again for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the plate.
  5. Add the onion, the garlic and half of the capsicums to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. 
  6. Add the tomato, paprika, saffron and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes
  7. Add the Chicken stock and Salt, bring everything to boil.
  8. Add the Rice, the Saffron, stir for one last time, bring it to boil, reduce the heat.
  9. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  10. While there is still liquid, carefully distribute on the top of the rice the ham, the chorizo, the rest of the capsicum, the green peas, the green beans and the beans - make it look pretty and don't stir!
  11. Cook for about 10 min more. Until rice is al dente - If necessary add a bit more water.
  12. When ready it should smell a bit like toasted due to the Socarrat on the bottom, the liquid should be absorbed, grains should be cooked but still holding the shape and loose (different texture than the Risotto).
  13. Remove from the heat, cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 5 minute.
  14. Serve decorated with the parsley and lemon hedges

Rachel Elich

Rachel Elich is a globetrotting, computer engineer, project manager, designer, untamed cook extraordinaire who backpacks around the world. Along the way on adventures, Rachel has adopted and incorporated international influences into all aspects of her creative work endeavours.

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