Skip to main content

Paella + Another Wine From the Wrong Side of the Pyrenees for #Winophiles


Years ago a good friend, and native Spaniard, gave me a lesson in how to make paella. So, when I knew that I was doing a Basque wine pairing, I excitedly planned to make paella. And I tracked down a bottle of Basque wine for the pairing.

If you follow my posts, you might recall that I picked up a bottle from the wrong side of the Pyrenees. Actually, I picked up more than one! So, here's my second bottle of wine from the Spanish Basque region that I can't use for the French Basque post coming up next month. Oh, well. You get to hear about it early.

In My Glass

I picked up a bottle of Itsasmendi Txakoli 2016 which hails from Bodegas Itsasmendi - Basque for 'Sea and Mountain' - in the Basque DO of Bizkaiko Txakolina overlooking the Bay of Biscay, not far from the city of Bilbao. Itsasmendi’s winery and a large portion of their vineyard have been located in the UNESCO-declared Biosphere Reserve of Urdaibai which was designated in 2002. As a Biosphere Reserve, Urdaibai is one of nearly 600 unique ecosystems across the globe devoted to sustainable development and a balanced relationship between humans and nature. Certified in sustainable viticulture by eco-friendly tourism organization, Turdaibai, Itsasmendi's owners embrace natural farming techniques that are employed throughout the entire Biosphere Reserve network.

To the eye, this wine is a bright golden straw color. On the nose, warm tropical scents of pineapple and mango persist. But on the palate, it has a lighter touch of summer stone fruit balanced with herbaceous note and a slightly bitter finish.

On My Plate

Ingredients serves 8
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 pound blanched baby octopus, beaks removed
  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 8 T olive oil (Juan told me 1 T per serving)
  • 1 organic onion
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 small bell peppers (I used green ones)
  • 1/2 C roasted red peppers
  • 3 ripe, organic tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 C Spanish paella rice
  • 1 generous pinch saffron
  • 1 Carmencita Paella Spice Mix sachet+ 
  • 5 to 6 C fish stock, warmed

+Juan used this and they brought some back from Spain for me, so I use it. But, in a pinch, you can add a blend of paprika, pepper, and clove to the pot. These packets also include a food coloring that makes regular paella a rich golden color. 

Procedure

Peel and dice the onions. Deseed and thinly slice the bell peppers. Slice the roasted peppers to the same width.


Heat olive oil in the paella pan. Cook the chicken through. Stir in the garlic. Add onions and bell peppers. Sauté until the onion is softened and translucent. Add in the tomatoes and cook until they have lost their shape slightly, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the seasoning packet into the pot and add the saffron to the side so it's not where the heat is most concentrated.

Tip in the rice. Nestle the octopus and mussels into the bed of rice. Pour in the stock. At this point, do not stir. Gently shake the pan to distribute the rice and seafood evenly. But do not stir. Ever. As Juan instructed me: "This is not risotto."


Bring the pan to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Watch the pan and keep turning it so that the rice cooks evenly. As it cooks, the stock will be fully absorbed.

You will see fewer and fewer bubbles popping up through the top. When it is completely dry, it's done. The rice should also be crackling. It reminds me of rice krispies. Snap, crackle, and pop!

When you no longer see any bubbles, remove the pan from the heat. Tent it with foil and let it steam for 10 minutes.


To serve, use a flat spatula to scrape the soccarat from the bottom.


 Invert the scoop onto the individual plates to show off your soccarat, that delicious, crusty goodness on the bottom of the pan!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Lamskoteletten op zijn oud-Hollands for #TheBookClubCookbookCC

Here we are at April's #thebookclubcookbookCC event. It's hard to believe that we only have three more months in this year-long journey to explore - and cook from -  The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors  by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.* Judy, Vicki, and their publisher,  Tarcher-Penguin ,  have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous. This month Sarah at  Things I Make (for Dinner)  has selected  Girl With a Pearl Earring  by Tracy Chevalier.** Click to read  Sarah's invitation . She shared the recipe for Griet's Vegetable Soup, but invited us to find inspiration in any of the pages. On the Page... While the boys were playing around the lake during our week in Tahoe earlier in the month, I stayed by the fire and finished this book in one sitting. Loved it. photo by R

Pistachio Dukkah for #HandCraftedEdibles

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule:  here . This week, we are "going nuts" and sharing all sorts of recipes with nuts. Think spiced nuts or nutty fruit cake or whatever floats your nutty boat! Here's what we're posting this week... Amy's Cooking Adventures  shared her Salted Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookaholic Wife  cooked up Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds Making Miracles  made Honey Roasted Almonds Christmas Tree Lane  posted Crockpot Spiced Nuts A Day in the Life on the Farm  wrote about the Easiest Nut Brittle in the World Sew You Think You Can Cook  prepared Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds Culinary Adventur