DUTCH OVEN PAELLA
From: America's Test Kitchen Live!
by Cook's Illustrated
This recipe is for making paella in a Dutch oven (the Dutch oven should be 11 to 12 inches in diameter with at least a 6-quart capacity). Dry-cured Spanish chorizo is the sausage of choice for paella, but fresh chorizo or linguica is an acceptable substitute.
Soccarat, a layer of crusty browned rice that forms on the bottom of the pan, is a traditional part of paella. In our version, soccarat does not develop because most of the cooking is done in the oven. We have provided instructions to develop soccarat in step 5; if you prefer, skip this step and go directly from step 4 to step 6.
• 1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
• Salt and ground black pepper
• Olive oil
• 8-9 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (2 generous tablespoons)
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each thigh trimmed of excess fat and halved crosswise
• 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut pole to pole into 1/2-inch-wide strips
• 8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
• 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, minced, and drained again
• 2 cups Valencia or Arborio rice
• 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1/3 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
• 1 dried bay leaf
• 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
• 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the shrimp, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the pepper strips and cook, stirring occasionally, until the skin begins to blister and turn spotty black, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pepper to a small plate and set aside.
3. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the now-empty Dutch oven; heat the oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer; cook, without moving the pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown on the second side, about 3 minutes longer; transfer the chicken to a medium bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chorizo to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned and the fat begins to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a bowl with the chicken and set aside.
4. Add enough oil to the fat in the Dutch oven to equal 2 tablespoons; heat over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes; stir in the remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes; cook until the mixture begins to darken and thicken slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are well coated with the tomato mixture, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, wine, saffron, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken and chorizo to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven; cook until the rice absorbs almost all of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven (close the oven door to retain heat). Uncover the pot; scatter the shrimp over the rice, insert the mussels hinged-side down into the rice (so they stand upright), arrange the bell pepper strips in a pinwheel pattern, and scatter the peas over the top. Cover and return to the oven; cook until the shrimp are opaque and the mussels have opened, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Optional: If soccarat is desired, set the Dutch oven, uncovered, over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, rotating the pot 180 degrees after about 2 minutes for even browning.
6. Let the paella stand, covered, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened and the bay leaf, if it can be easily removed. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve, passing the lemon wedges separately.