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

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

#comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never tethered...free to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa