Some girlfriends from work came over recently for a Mediterranean feast in the middle of our Canadian winter. It's a tradition I started last year, and once again, it was really nice to have so many happy faces in my tiny apartment :)
I put bright and colourful placemats everywhere and pretended it wasn't snowing outside. We all clustered around some olives, hummus and pita bread triangles to start. For the entrée, I made this yummy seafood paella, adapted from Foodies.ca, although it ended up being more like a risotto because I added a bit too much liquid, I think.
Seafood and Chorizo Paella
2 chorizo sausages, sliced while partially frozen
1 onion, diced
2 leeks, white parts only, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
150 ml white wine
1 cup arborio rice, rinsed four times
325 ml chicken stock
pinch of saffron, crushed
18 shrimps, zipperback, uncooked
18 mussels, rinsed, uncooked
60 ml chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
parsley, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Keeping the chorizo sausages in the freezer for about half an hour makes them easier to slice and keep their shape. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and caramelize the chorizo slices on both sides until mostly cooked. Drain, pat away the excess oil, and place in a large rice cooker. (If you don't have a rice cooker, use a stock pot.)
Add the saffron to the chicken stock and set aside so that it can infuse for a few minutes before you use it.
Fry the onion, leeks and garlic until soft. Add the peppers and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Fry a few minutes. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the rinsed rice, and stock and saffron. Bring to a boil. Then add all these ingredients to the rice cooker. Stir the ingredients in the rice cooker and switch it to "on."
When my rice cooker switched to warm, I transferred everything to my bigger stock pot to finish cooking the dish. If your rice cooker is big enough to add more ingredients at this point, you don't have to use another pan.
Add the shrimp, mussels, remaining 60 ml of stock and the peas to paella. Stir and let cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or switch your rice cooker on again. Let the paella rest for five minutes when done and then fluff up with a wooden spoon.
Garnish with spring onions and parsley and serve!