Oh! When I saw Lululu’s paella the other day, I immediately had a hankering for some. I hadn’t eaten paella in a very long time. Her’s looked so appetizing and the best part of the recipe for me was that the ingredients were simple. I’d made paella a long time ago (a recipe by Tyler Florence), the ingredients were many (chicken, chorizo, saffron, clams, shrimp, lobster tails…) and I’d spent a fortune buying the ingredients. Although, the paella tasted really terrific and the recipe was tasty and definitely worth it, I was happy to see a simple, yet delicious-looking paella recipe.
Over the weekend, I went grocery shopping and bought my ingredients, mainly the shrimp and squid. The recipe called for arborio rice. However, despite going to three stores, I couldn’t find that rice. There was one more store to try but by then, I was too tired. It’s no fun lugging several grocery bags around the city. I had long grain rice at home and planned to use it, even though I wasn’t sure how that would turn out. Thankfully, Rosa’s Yummy Yums encouraged me to use what I had, although there’d be a difference in the recipe.
Feeling a bit tired
lazy tired on the day I prepared this dish, I found that it wasn’t as labor intensive as expected. The only part of the recipe that was a pain in the neck was shelling and de-veining the shrimps. Yikes! Next time, I’ll consider paying a little extra for shrimps already de-veined. De-veining more than five shrimps is NOT fun. It took me FOR-EVAH to de-vein the darned things.
At the last minute, I realized that I didn’t have any white wine. So, I used vermouth. *shrugs*
To my delight, my paella with chorizo and seafood turned out really well. I loved it. My dog loved it, too. We were the only two at home, which was okay. More for us.
Paella with Chorizo and Seafood
Lululu at Home
(serves 6 persons)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 to 3 pieces Spanish Chorizo hot sausage, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz can tomato
3 cup warm chicken stock
1 Tbsp dried herbs of your choice
1lb shrimp, deveined
1 squid tube, cleaned and sliced
pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen peas
In a large pan, brown sausages with olive oil over medium heat. Remove from pan and set aside.
Keep fat in pan. Sautee onion and garlic for 5 minutes until onion turns pale gold, but not brown.
Add rice and wine, and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomato, and keep stirring occasionally until 1/3 liquid is evaporated. Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock and herbs, cook uncovered until 1/2 liquid is absorbed by the rice. Add the remaining cup of chicken stock, stirring. Cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add sausage (push them into the rice).
Preheat oven to 400F.
Tuck the shrimps and squid rings into the rice. Sprinkle salt and pepper on seafood with the peas. After placing seafood ingredients in pan, sprinkle them with peas, salt and pepper. Place pan in oven to cook for 5 minutes until shrimps become pink and squid is slightly brown at the edge.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of each portion before serving.
Okay. So the rice is missing in the photo with the lentil stew, but we all know what rice looks like. Right?
I always enjoy reading and then trying to prepare the Ecuadorian recipes that I see on Laylita’s Recipes. This is another simple recipe — Lentil stew with rice. The lentils simmer with onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cumin and cilantro. That’s about it. According to Laylita, this is a popular dish in Ecuador. It’s served with grilled meat (The full name of the dish is actually arroz con menestra de lentejas y carne asada — lentil stew with rice and grilled meat.). Like Laylita, I substituted the meat with a fried egg. Loved it!
Lentil Stew with Rice (Arroz con Menestra)
3 tbs canola oil
1 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
1 tsp achiote
4 tbs chopped cilantro
7 cups of water
1 lb lentils
- Heat the canola oil on medium heat in a large sauce pan.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, tomato, garlic, cumin, salt, achiote and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro to make a refrito for the stew.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the water and increase heat to bring water to boil.
- Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium low, cover partially and cook until the lentils are tender, stir in the remaining 2 tbs of cilantro and remove from the heat.
- Serve with Ecuadorian style cooked rice, carne asada o carne frita (fried thin beef steaks), fried ripe plantains or fried green plantains, and a small salad or avocado slices.
Orzo! I love this rice-shaped pasta and jumped at the opportunity to make Orzo Paella when I saw the recipe on Haalo’s blog, Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. Orzo Paella? Never heard of it before. Gotta try it, I thought to myself. Try it I did. And did I like it? Did everyone else at home like it? Yup. Like it we did.
One of the things I liked about this recipe was that it’s quick and easy to make. The ingredients are very simple. I didn’t have to go to Timbuktu in search of anything special or exotic. I had almost all the ingredients right there in my kitchen. The only ingredient I didn’t have was the chorizo. I could only get it in a store a couple of blocks away. But I was feeling too lazy to walk down there. So I called another store closer to me (about a block away) and had them deliver Italian sausage since they didn’t carry chorizos.
Haalo suggests topping the orzo paella with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra. I didn’t have that either, so good ole Parmesan cheese substituted. I’ve never tasted Manchego or Mizithra cheese. I’ll have to go buy some one of these days because I’ll definitely make Orzo Paella again. Thanks, Haalo!
Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once
2 red onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), sliced thickly
4 skinless chicken thighs, sliced thickly
1 chorizo, diced
chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
Heat a little oil and butter in a large pan and saute the chicken in batches until browned. Set to one side and in the same pan, saute the onions and garlic until softened.
Add the diced chorizo and cook until golden. Add the sliced capsicum and continue to saute for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, peas and chicken. Stir through and add enough water or stock to just cover the mixture. Simmer until reduced.
The orzo will only take about 5 minutes to cook so make sure that this chicken mixture is cooked and seasoned to your liking.
Over a very low flame, stir in the orzo and top with enough water to just cover the mixture. Place a lid on the pot and let it cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
After this, stir the mixture and taste — check that the orzo is cooked through and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve at once. Top with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra.
**I haven’t been cooking or food blogging lately. So, I’ve decided to go through my archives and repost some of my earlier posts, from the days when I started learning to cook and bake (I’m still learning). It certainly brings back good memories.
I’ve mentioned several times on my blog that I love rice. All types of rice. Here’s one nice rice recipe that I need to make again.
* * * * * * *
First posted December 7, 2005
“Cardamom? What’s cardamom?” She asked herself, never having heard, seen or tasted the unfamiliar ingredient.
Later she found out that it’s a popular spice. Spelled two ways – cardamom or cardamon – it comes in two forms (green or white fruit pods that contain tiny brown aromatic seeds, or decorticated seeds without the shell). She learned it’s widely used – from Danish pastries, Saudi Arabian, to North African, Asian, and Indian cooking, and in spice blends like garam masala, curry powder and berbere.
Michelle sent the girl a Basmati and Nut Pilaf recipe. “It’s what introduced me to cardamom,” she let the girl know.
“Rice with cardamom, cumin seed, ground coriander, and black mustard seeds? Oh wow! This should taste interesting,” the girl spoke to herself (She did that a lot.) while reading the ingredient list with interest. Normally a rice eater, she’d never made rice with the spices mentioned in the recipe.
The spices used
Eagerly, the girl set out to go buy the cardamom. She searched high and low in her neighborhood. The people she asked in the grocery stores didn’t know what she talked about or they said that didn’t have it.
So, the girl went out of her area and searched. No luck. She returned to a store in her neighborhood and asked a manager who pointed her to the spice section. In a little bottle, she found the cardamom pods. They’d been there all that time, right under her nose!
Although the remaining ingredients for the recipe weren’t hard to find, for one reason or another, it took the girl a little longer to get them. The list called for cashew nuts, but every time the girl would buy the nuts, she’d eat it all before it was time to prepare the meal. This happened twice. She couldn’t find black mustard seeds and used regular mustard seed and instead of sunflower oil used safflower oil.
With everything finally on hand, the girl prepared her meal. Michelle noted that the basmati didn’t require as much stock or water as the recipe recommended. Instead, her basmati took equal parts water to rice, so that’s what the girl used. However, the girl’s rice stayed dry and she ending up adding more water (in effect, returning to the recipe’s ratio).
Everything turned out well. The flavor of the cardamom (sweet and somewhat lemony), along with the other spices lent a tasty essence to the rice. Delicious! The aroma, heavenly. She enjoyed her rice and sent Michele good thoughts.
Content with her Basmati and Nut Pilaf recipe, the girl lived happily ever after.
The End. To be continued.
Basmati and Nut Pilaf
1 ¼ cups basmati rice
1 onion chopped
1 garlic crushed
1 large carrot, grated
1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp black mustard seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 cups stock or water
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
cashews –a handful or two, or however many you like. Salted or unsalted whichever is your preference.
Wash rice. Fry the onion, garlic and carrot in oil. Add rice and spices and cook another 2 minutes or so. Pour in stock or water, add bay leaf and season. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf an cardamom pods. Add the nuts.
We all know that there are different variations of Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken) and depending on the country or region, it is made a little differently.
Ever since I discovered this particular rice recipe below, I’ve been making it at least once a week. Each time, my rice becomes better and better. I HEART it. Actually, I PUFFY HEART it. This Ecuadorian-style rice with chicken recipe has become my favorite rice recipe. When I first saw it, some of its ingredients, like beer or wine, intrigued me. Rice cooked with beer or wine? I used the wine and found that worked really well. The rice had an extra special taste.
I enjoyed everything in the rice — the seasoned chicken, the carrots, the tomatoes…. Thankfully, I didn’t have much trouble with the amount of water in relation to the amount of rice. Normally when I make these chicken rice dishes (see my jollof rice), I usually end up with too much water or too little water, making my rice soggy or dry. Uggh! Fortunately my rice turned out very well with this recipe and the more I made it, the better it turned out.
As suggested, I served the chicken rice with ripe fried plantains and pickled onions. Other times, I served it with a side salad, avocado slices and aji criollo (Ecuadorian hot sauce). It depended on what I had in the kitchen.
When one of my brothers stops by and I prepare this rice, he makes sure to take some home in some tupperware. The boy never brings back the tupperware. *sigh*
Now. I have a confession about the Arroz con Pollo photo above. While I’ve made rice and chicken several times, in this particular instance, you are looking at rice with turkey wings (the only part of the turkey that I like). I can happily write that the rice with turkey turned out just fine. The photo is of my leftovers, which I took to work the next day. Thanks, Laylita for the recipe.
Paz (the riceaholic)
Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)
3 lbs chicken, assorted pieces
1 tbs achiote powder
½ tbs ground coriander
10 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 tbs oil or butter1 white onion, diced, about 2 cups
2 celery stalks, finely diced
4 roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup beer or white wine
1 to 1 ½ cup water or broth
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
Sides – ripe fried plantains, pickled onions or side salad, avocado slices and aji criollo
- Mix the crushed garlic, achiote, cumin, coriander and salt together.
- Rub the garlic seasoning on the chicken pieces.
- Heat the oil or butter on medium high heat in large sauté pan, add the chicken pieces (skin side down) and cook until browned on each side.
- Add the diced onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, and celery, mix well and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 1 cup of beer or white wine, cook for about 20-25 minutes over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half, stir frequently.
- Add the broth or water, rice, peas and carrots, mix well.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the rice is tender but still slightly firm.
- Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve with ripe fried plantains, a small salad, pickled onions, avocado slices, and hot sauce on the side.