When I saw this month’s Daring Cooks challenge announcement, my pulse quickened and I envisioned a moist, colorful, flavorful Spanish rice. The sofregit seemed perfect for the season, with fresh tomatoes, peppers, and garlic, and this was a perfect opportunity to test out the paella pan (paellera) Michael gave me for Christmas. That I still had not used. Time to get cracking.
We used our homegrown tomatoes and garlic in the dish, loving the fresh flavor of the tomatoes and the intensity of our garlic. As I studied the instructions, I realized the recipe only used a small amount of the sofregit, but we enjoyed the flavor so much we added more along with a dollop of the allioli to each serving of rice. Each taste was like a game of roulette, not knowing when we would find the sharp bite of the allioli.
This delicious dish comes from an episode of Made in Spain, a public television show starring José Andrés, the internationally known Spanish chef with several restaurants in the DC Metro area. I opted to use shrimp instead of cuttlefish since I have a family of boys who aren’t big into seafood, and the recipe below reflects those changes, including making shrimp broth. You can find the full original recipe at Olga of Olga’s Recipes, who hosted this truly delicious challenge. Thanks to Olga for hosting this month and for choosing a challenge that will certainly get a repeat performance in our house.
Creamy Rice Paella with Mushrooms, Artichokes, and Shrimp
- large frying pan
- 2-quart saucepan
- paella pan (I used a 15-inch/38 cm paella pan, but you may also use a regular pan that size.)
- mortar and pestle
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 big red ripe tomatoes (about 3.5 to 4 pounds/1.6 to 1.8 k, chopped)
- 2 small onions (chopped)
- 1 green pepper (chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1 cup chopped Portobello mushrooms
- 1 Bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch ground cumin
- pinch dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 artichokes (cleaned and cut into eighths (You can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available.))
- 12 Portobello or button mushrooms (cleaned and quartered)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups short grain rice (Recommend Valencia, Calasparra or Montsant, though arborio rice will also work.)
- 6 cups shrimp broth or water (Put the shrimp peels in a small sauce pan, add water, bring to boil and cook for about 15 minutes. Strain. Voile, you have shrimp broth.)
- pinch saffron threads (You may substitute turmeric or yellow coloring powder.)
- 1 pound shrimp (shelled and deveined (The recipe calls for cuttlefish or squid.))
- 4 large cloves garlic (peeled)
- pinch salt
- few drops fresh lemon juice
- extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential.)
- Put all the ingredients together in a large frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
- Taste and add salt if needed.
- Add the salt to the bottom of the mortar and then add the garlic cloves. Using the pestle, mash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste.
- Add the lemon juice and continue to mash.
- Add the olive oil slowly, drop by drop, while you continue to mash the garlic. Keep turning the pestle in a slow, circular motion. Make sure the paste soaks up the oil.
- Keep adding until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. This will take about 20 minutes.
- Add the olive oil to the paella/frying pan and warm over medium heat. Add the artichokes, mushrooms, and bay leaf. Sauté until the artichokes turn golden.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Add two or three tablespoons of the prepared sofregit and stir.
- Add all of the shrimp broth or water and bring to a hard boil. Add all the rice, pouring it around the pan to evenly distribute it. Bring back to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Do not stir.
- Add a hearty pinch of saffron threads and stir to distribute. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 more minutes. Do not stir.
- About 5 minutes before the rice is finished, lay the shrimp around the pan, pushing them down into the liquid so they will cook.
- Remove pan from heat and let stand a few minutes.
- Serve with allioli and sofregit on the side.
More Daring Challenges
You can see all of my previous Daring Challenges in the the Daring Challenges tag list.