Taste Lafayette Paella Louisiane

Prep time: 90 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 8 – 10 for a 20” Pan Paella is a staged recipe with each layering of flavors building depth of taste. The meats and seafood used can vary widely from this recipe, so feel free to go with what you have fresh and available. Rice is important. I suggest Spanish bombe, arborio or a Louisiana long grain white rice. Whichever rice you use, follow the directions in adding the stock, since ratios will vary. Ingredients: For the sofrito: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed 1/4 cup chopped garlic 2 cups onion, diced 1 can mild Rotel tomatoes For the vegetables: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed 1 cup celery, diced 1 cup red and green bell pepper, diced 1 cup sweet yellow and red peppers, cut into rings For the base meat: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed 2 skinless chicken thighs, bite-size pieces 1/2 pound lean pork loin, cut into 3⁄4 inch pieces 1/2 pound tasso sausage or smoked ham, diced 1/2 pound chorizo or smoked andouille sausage, diced 2 tablespoons smoked paprika salt and pepper to taste For the assembly: 4 cups of rice 5 - 8 cups of seafood stock, plus more if needed Pinch of saffron 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips 2 cups fresh green beans 4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary 1 cup frozen peas Half way through the rice cooking: 1 pound cooked Louisiana Crawfish tails 4 pounds peeled large Louisiana Gulf shrimp, raw 1 dozen raw oysters on the half shell Garnish: 1 cup parsley, diced 2 lemons, cut in wedges, for garnish Directions: In a stockpot, heat the stock to a simmer and add the saffron. Continue to heat for 10 minutes and taste for seasoning level of stock. If needed, add more salt and then remove from the heat. Set aside until ready to add to the rice. Place a 20-inch paella pan over high heat and add the olive oil. To make the sofrito, add the chopped garlic, diced onion and Rotel tomatoes. Sauté the ingredients until it cooks down and comes together as a paste. Move it to the outer edges of the pan. Sauté the vegetables in the paella pan on medium heat by first adding more olive oil. Add the celery and peppers and cook until just brown, about five minutes. Move the vegetables to the outer edges of the pan. For the base meat, turn the heat back to high and add more olive oil to the paella pan. Season the chicken pieces with paprika and salt and pepper, and sauté until partially cooked and just browned, about 10 minutes. Add the pork loin and sausages and sauté for just five minutes. Begin the assembly by moving the sofrito and vegetables back to the center of the pan with the meats. Add all of the rice along with the seasoned seafood stock, infused with the saffron. Stir only once to incorporate evenly and turn the fire to medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, uncovered. While the rice is cooking, go ahead and add the chopped rosemary and green beans to the pan. Make sure the rice is cooking evenly and move the pan around on the heat if it is not heating evenly. At the halfway point in the rice cooking, add the green peas, shrimp and crawfish, distributing evenly throughout the pan. At this point, you have two cooking options; you can cover the pan with aluminum foil and continue to cook on the cooktop on low heat or place in a 350 degree oven. As it cooks, you should smell the rice cooking and actually browning in the center of the pan. This burnt center of the rice is the socarrat – the most prized part of the paella. After ten minutes, lift the cover and carefully position the oysters in their half shell. Cover and let continue cooking. After another ten minutes, lift the cover and see that the shrimp are just cooked and the oysters have steamed. Taste the rice in several areas of the pan for doneness. Once the rice is done and all of the stock is absorbed, spread the red bell pepper strips out in a circular star pattern on top of the paella. Carry the paella pan to the table and let it rest while still covered to meld the flavors. Once your guests are seated, lift the foil to the inevitable applause you will receive. Serve with lemon wedges. Recipe Courtesy of George Graham, AcadianaTable.com

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